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Full text of "Hearts of three"

HEARTS OF THREE 



BOOKS BY JACK LONDON 

MICHAEL BROTHER OF JERRY 6s. net 

Daily Graphic" A clever and intimate study of a thorough- 
bred doe full of adventure." 
JERRY OF THE ISLANDS 6s, 

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" A real Londonian romance." 
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Times '* Mr. London at his best. Emphatically a Jack 

Londonian tour-de-force." 
THE VALLEY OF THE MOON 6s. and 2s. 6d. net 

Times" Delightful ; absorbing." 
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SON ()F 8 THE SUN ., 6s. and is. 6d. net 

Dundee Advertiser" A glorious story. 
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Glasgow Herald" Fine racy stuff in Mr. London s best vein. 
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with which an athlete shoots a goal." 
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Manchester Guardian" He is the real stuff. 

MILLS & BOON, Ltd., 49 Rupert St., London, W.I 



HEARTS OF THREE 



BY 

JACK LONDON 

^- 

AUTHOR OF " THE VALLEY OF THE MOON/' 

" JERRY OF THE ISLANDS," 
" MICHAEL, BROTHER OF JERRY," &c., &c. 



MILLS & BOON, LIMITED 

49 RUPERT STREET 
LONDON, W. 



Copyright in the United States of America by Jack London. 



3 t 

t . 



FOREWORD 



I HOPE the reader will forgive me for beginning this foreword 
with a brag. In truth, this yarn is a celebration. By its 
completion I celebrate my fortieth birthday, my fiftieth book, 
my sixteenth year in the writing game, and a new departure. 
" Hearts of Three " is a new departure. I have certainly 
never done anything like it before; I am pretty certain 
never to do anything like it again. And I haven't the least 
bit of reticence in proclaiming my pride in having done it. 
And now, for the reader who likes action, I advise him to 
skip the rest of this brag and foreword, and plunge into the 
narrative, and tell me if it just doesn't read along. 

For the more curious let me explain a bit further. With 
the rise of moving pictures into the overwhelmingly most 
popular form of amusement in the entire world, the stock 
}.- of plots and stories in the world's fiction fund began rapidly 
to be exhausted. In a year a single producing company, 
with a score of directors, is capable of filming the entire 
literary output of the entire lives of Shakespeare, Balzac, 
Dickens, Scott, Zola, Tolstoy, and of dozens of less volumin- 
ous writers. And since there are hundreds of moving pictures 
producing companies, it can be readily grasped how quickly 
they found themselves face to face with a shortage of the raw 
material of which moving pictures are fashioned. 

The film rights in all novels, short stories, and plays that 
were still covered by copyright, were bought or contracted 
for, while all similar raw material on which copyright had 
expired was being screened as swiftly as sailors on a placer 
beach would pick up nuggets. Thousands of scenario writers 
literally tens of thousands, for no man, nor woman, nor 
child was too mean not to write scenarios tens of 
thousands of scenario writers pirated through all literature 
(copyright or otherwise), and snatched the magazines hot 



viii. FOEEWOED 

from the press to steal any new scene or plot or story hit 
upon by their writing brethren. 

In passing, it is only fair to point out that, though only the 
other day, it was in the days ere scenario writers became 
respectable, in the days when they worked overtime for 
rough-neck directors for fifteen and twenty a week or free- 
lanced their wares for from ten to twenty dollars per scenario 
and half the time were beaten out of the due payment, or had 
their stolen goods stolen from them by their equally graceless 
and shameless fellows who slaved by the week. But to-day, 
which is only a day since the other day, I know scenario 
writers who keep their three. machines, their two chauffeurs, 
send their children to the most exclusive prep schools, 
and maintain an unwavering solvency. 

It was largely because of the shortage in raw material 
that scenario writers appreciated in value and esteem. They 
found themselves in demand, treated with respect, better 
remunerated, and, in return, expected to deliver a higher 
grade of commodity. One phase of this new quest for 
material was the attempt to enlist Jmown authors in the 
work. But because a man had written a score of novels was 
no guarantee that he could write a good scenario. Quite to 
the contrary, it was quickly discovered that the surest 
guarantee of failure was a previous record of success in novel- 
writing. 

But the moving pictures producers were not to be denied. 
Division of labor was the thing. Allying themselves with 
powerful newspaper organisations, or, in the case of " Hearts 
of Three," the very reverse, they had highly-skilled writers 
of scenario (who couldn't write novels to save themselves) 
make scenarios, which, in turn, were translated into novels 
by novel-writers (who couldn't, to save themselves, write 
scenarios). 

Comes now Mr. Charles Goddard to one, Jack London, 
saying: " The time, the place, and the men are met; the 
moving pictures producers, the newspapers, and the capital, 
are ready: let us get together." And we got. Eesult: 
" Hearts of Three." When I state that Mr. Goddard has 
been responsible for " The Perils of Pauline," " The Ex- 
ploits of Elaine," " The Goddess," the " Get Eich Quick 
Wallingford " series, etc., no question of his skilled fitness 
can be raised. Also, the name of the present heroine, 
Leoncia, is of his own devising. 

On the ranch, in the Valley of the Moon, he wrote his first 



FOKEWOED ix. 

several episodes. But he wrote faster than I, and was done 
with his fifteen episodes weeks ahead of me. Do not be 
misled by the word " episode." The first episode covers 
three thousand feet of film. The succeeding fourteen 
episodes cover each two thousand feet of film. And each 
episode contains about ninety scenes, which makes a total 
of some thirteen hundred scenes. Nevertheless, we worked 
simultaneously at our respective tasks. I could not build for 
what was going to happen next or a dozen chapters away, 
because I did not know. Neither did Mr. Goddard know. 
The inevitable result was that "Hearts of Three" may not be 
very vertebrate, although it is certainly consecutive. 

Imagine my surprise, down here in Hawaii and toiling at 
the novelization of the tenth episode, to receive by mail 
from Mr. Goddard in New York the scenario of the fourteenth 
episode, and glancing therein, to find my hero married to the 
wrong woman! and with only one more episode in 
which to get rid of the wrong woman and duly tie my hero 
up with the right and only woman. For all of wilich please 
see last chapter of fifteenth episode. Trust Mr. Goddard 
to show me how. 

For Mr. Goddard is the master of action and lord of speed. 
Action doesn't bother him at all. " Register," he calmly 
says in a film direction to the moving picture actor. 
Evidently the actor registers, for Mr. Goddard goes right on 
with more action. " Register grief," he commands, or 

sorrow," or " anger," or " melting sympathy," or 

homicidal intent," or " suicidal tendency." That's all. 
It has to be all, or how else would he ever accomplish the 
whole thirteen hundred scenes? 

But imagine the poor devil of a me, who can't utter the 
talismanic " register " but who must describe, and at some 
length inevitably, these moods and modes so airily created 
in passing by Mr. Goddard ! Why, Dickens thought nothing 
of consuming a thousand w r ords or so in describing and subtly 
characterizing the particular grief of a particular person. 
But Mr. Goddard says, " Register," and the slaves of the 
camera obey. 

And action ! I have written some novels of adventure in 
my time, but never, in all of the many of them, have I per- 
petrated a totality of action equal to what is contained in 
" Hearts of Three." 

But I know, now, why moving pictures are popular. I 
know, now, why Messrs. " Barnes of New York " and 



x. FOREWORD 

" Potter of Texas " sold by the millions of copies. I know, 
now, why one stump speech of high-falutin' is a more 
efficient vote-getter than a finest and highest act or thought 
of statesmanship. It has been an interesting experience, 
this novelization by me of Mr. Goddard's scenario; and it 
has been instructive. It has given me high lights, founda- 
tion lines, cross-bearings, and illumination on my anciently 
founded sociological generalizations. I have come, by this 
adventure in writing, to understand the mass mind of the 
people more thoroughly than I thought I had understood it 
before, and to realize, more fully than ever, the graphic 
entertainment delivered by the demagogue who wins the vote 
of the mass out of his mastery of its mind. I should be sur- 
prised if this book does not have a large sale. (" Register 
surprise," Mr. Goddard would say; or " Register large 
sale "). 

If this adventure of " Hearts of Three " be collaboration, 
I am transported by it. But alack ! I fear me Mr. Goddard 
must then be the one collaborator in a million. We have 
never had a word, an argument, nor a discussion. But then, 
I must be a jewel of a collaborator myself. Have I not, 
without whisper or whimper of complaint, let him " register " 
through fifteen episodes of scenario, through thirteen hundred 
scenes and thirty-one thousand feet of film, through one 
hundred and eleven thousand words of novelization? Just 
the same, having completed the task, I wish I'd never 
written it for the reason that I'd like to read it myself 
to see if it reads along. I am curious to know. I am curious 
to know. 



JACK LONDON. 



Waikiki, Hawaii, 

March 23, 1916. 



Back to Back Against the Mainmast 



Do ye seek for fun and fortune? 

Listen, rovers, now to me ! 
Look ye for them on the ocean : 

Ye shall find them on the sea. 

CHORUS : 
Roaring wind and deep blue water ! 

We're the jolly devils who, 
Back to back against the mainmast, 
Held at bay the entire crew. 



Bring the dagger, bring the pistols ! 

We will have our own to-day ! 
Let the cannon smash the bulwarks ! 

Let the cutlass clear the way ! 

CHORUS : 
Bearing wind and deep blue water ! 

We're the jolly devils who, 
Back to back against the mainmast, 

Held at bay the entire crew. 



Here's to rum and here's to plunder! 

Here's to all the gales that blow ! 
Let the seamen cry for mercy ! 

Let the blood of captains flow ! 

CHORUS : 
Roaring wind and deep blue water ! 

We're the jolly devils who, 
Back to back against the mainmast, 

Held at bay the entire crew. 



Xll. BACK TO BACK AGAINST THE MAINMAST 

Here's to ships that we have taken! 

They have seen which men were best. 
We have lifted maids and cargo, 

And the sharks have had the rest. 

CHOEUS : 
Roaring wind and deep blue water ! 

We're the jolly devils who, 
Back to back against the mainmast, 

Held at bay the entire crew. 



George Sterling 



HEARTS OF THREE 



CHAPTEE I. 

EVENTS happened very rapidly with Francis Morgan that 
late spring morning. If ever a man leaped across time into 
the raw, red drama and tragedy of the primitive and the 
medieval melodrama of sentiment and passion of the New 
World Latin, Francis Morgan was destined to be that man, 
and Destiny was very immediate upon him. 

Yet he was lazily unaware that aught in the world was 
stirring, and was scarcely astir himself. A late night at 
bridge had necessitated a late rising. A late breakfast of 
fruit and cereal had occurred along the route to the library 
the austerely elegant room from which his father, toward the 
last, had directed vast and manifold affairs. 

" Parker," he said to the valet who had been his father's 
before him, " did you ever notice any signs of fat on E.H.M. 
in his last days?" 

'"' Oh, no, sir," was the answer, uttered with all the due 
humility of the trained servant, but accompanied by an 
involuntarily measuring glance that scanned the young man's 
splendid proportions. ' Your father, sir, never lost his lean- 
ness. His figure was always the same, broad-shouldered, 
deep in the chest, big-boned, but lean, always lean, sir, in 
the middle. When he was laid out, sir, and bathed, his body 
would have shamed most of the young men about town. 
He always took good care of himself ; it was those exercises 
in bed, sir. Half an hour every morning. Nothing prevented. 
He called it religion." 

' Yes, he was a fine figure of a man," the young man 
responded idly, glancing to the stock-ticker and the several 
telephones his father had installed. 

' He was that," Parker agreed eagerly. " He was le.an 



2 HEARTS OF THREE 

and aristocratic in spite of his shoulders and bone and chest. 
And you've inherited it, sir, only on more generous lines." 

Young Francis Morgan, inheritor of many millions as well 
as brawn, lolled back luxuriously in a huge leather chair, 
stretched his legs after the manner of a full-vigored 
menagerie lion that is over-spilling with vigor, and glanced 
at a headline of the morning paper which informed him of a 
fresh slide in the Culebra Cut at Panama. 

" If I didn't know we Morgans didn't run that way," he 
yawned, " I'd be fat already from this existence. ... Eh, 
Parker?" 

The elderly valet, who Had neglected prompt reply, startled 
at the abrupt interrogative interruption of the pause. 

" Oh, yes, sir," he said hastily. " I mean, no, sir. You 
are in the pink of condition." 

" Not on your life, " the young man assured him. " I may 
not be getting fat, but I am certainly growing soft. . . . 
Eh, Parker?" 

' Yes, sir. No, sir; no, I mean no, sir. You're just the 
same as when you came home from college three years ago." 

" And took up loafing as a vocation," Francis laughed. 
" Parker!" 

Parker was alert attention. His master debated with him- 
self ponderously, as if the problem were of profound import- 
ance, rubbing the while the bristly thatch of the small tooth- 
brush moustache he had recently begun to sport on his upper 
lip. 

" Parker, I'm going fishing." 
1 Yes, sir!" 

" I ordered some rods sent up. Please joint them and let 
me give them the once over. The idea drifts through my 
mind that two weeks in the woods is what I need. If I don't, 
I'll surely^ start laying on flesh and disgrace the whole family 
tree. You remember Sir Henry? the old original Sir 
Henry, the buccaneer old swashbuckler?" 
' Yes, sir; I've read of him, sir." 

Parker had paused in the doorway until such time as the 
ebbing of his young master's volubility would permit him to 
depart on the errand. 

" Nothing to be proud of, the old pirate." 

" Oh, no, sir," Parker protested. " He was Governor of 
Jamaica. He died respected." 

" It was a mercy he didn't die hanged," Francis laughed. 
" As it was, he's the only disgrace in the family that he 



HEARTS OF THREE 3 

founded. But what I was going to say is that I've looked 
him up very carefully. He kept his figure and he died lean 
in the middle, thank God. It's a good inheritance he passed 
down. We Morgans never found his treasure; but beyond 
rubies is the lean-in-the-middle legacy he bequeathed us. 
It's what is called a fixed character in the breed that's 
what the profs taught me in the biology course." 

Parker faded out of the room in the ensuing silence, during 
which Francis Morgan buried himself in the Panama column 
and learned that the canal was not expected to be open for 
traffic for three weeks to come. 

A telephone buzzed, and, through the electric nerves of 
a consummate civilization, Destiny made the first out-reach 
of its tentacles and contacted with Francis Morgan in the 
library of the mansion his father had builded on Eiverside 
Drive. 

" But my dear Mrs. Carruthers," was his protest into the 
transmitter. ' Whatever it is, it is a mere local flurry. 
Tampico Petroleum is all right. It is not a gambling pro- 
position. It is legitimate investment. Stay with. Tie to 
it ... Some Minnesota farmer's come to town and is trying 
to buy a block or two because it looks as solid as it really 
is. ... What if it is up two points? Don't sell. Tampico 
Petroleum is not a lottery or a roulette proposition. It's 
bona fide industry. I wish it hadn't been so almighty big or 
I'd have financed it all myself. . . . Listen, please, it's not 
a flyer. Our present contracts for tanks is over a million. 
Our railroad and our three pipe-lines are costing more than 
five millions. Why, we've a hundred millions in producing 
wells right now, and our problem is to get it down country 
to the oil-steamers. This is the sober investment time. A 
year from now, or two years, and your shares will make 
government bonds look like something the cat brought 
in. ... 

' Yes, yes, please. Never mind how the market goes. 
Also, please, I didn't advise you to go in in the first place. 
I never advised a friend to that. But now that they are in, 
stick. It's as solid as the Bank of England. . . . Yes, Dicky 
and I divided the spoils last night. Lovely party, though 
Dicky's got too much temperament for bridge. . . . Yes, 
bull luck. ... Ha! ha! My temperament? Ha! Ha!. 
. . . Yes? . . . Tell Harry I'm off and away for a couple of 
weeks. . . . Fishing, troutlets, you know, the springtime 
and the streams, the rise of sap, the budding and the 



4 HEARTS OF THREE 

blossoming and all the rest. . . . Yes, good-bye, and hold 
on to Tampico Petroleum. If it goes down, after that 
Minnesota farmer's bulled it, buy a little more. I'm going 
to. It's finding money. . . . Yes. . . . Yes, surely. . . . 
It's too good to dare sell on a flyer now, because it mayn't 
ever again go down. ... Of course I know what I'm talk- 
ing about. I've just had eight hours' sleep, and haven't had 
a drink. . . . Yes, yes. . . . Good-bye." 

He pulled the ticker tape into the comfort of his chair and 
languidly ran over it, noting with mildly growing interest the 
message it conveyed. 

Parker returned with several slender rods, each a glittering 
gem of artisanship and art. Francis was out of his chair, 
ticker flung aside and forgotten as with the exultant joy of a 
boy he examined the toys and, one after another, began 
trying them, switching them through the air till they made 
shrill whip-like noises, moving them gently with prudence and 
precision under the lofty ceiling as he made believe to cast 
across the floor into some unseen pool of trout-lurking 
mystery. 

A telephone buzzed. Irritation was swift on his face. 

" For heaven's sake answer it, Parker, he commanded. 
" If it is some silly stock-gambling female, tell her I'm dead, 
or drunk, or down with typhoid, or getting married, or any- 
thing calamitous." 

After a moment's dialogue, conducted on Parker's part, in 
the discreet and modulated tones that befitted absolutely 
the cool, chaste, noble dignity of the room, with a " One 
moment, sir," into the transmitter, he muffled the trans- 
mitter with his hand and said : 

" It's Mr. Bascom, sir. He wants you." 

" Tell Mr. Bascom to go to hell," said Francis, simulating 
so long a cast, that, had it been in verity a cast, and had it 
pursued the course his fascinated gaze indicated, it would 
have gone through the window and most likely startled the 
gardener outside kneeling over the rose bush he was planting. 

" Mr. Bascom says it's about the market, sir, and that 
he'd like to talk with you only a moment," Parker urged, 
but so delicately and subduedly as to seem to be merely 
repeating an immaterial and unnecessary message. 

" All right." Francis carefully leaned the rod against a 
table and went to the 'phone. 

" Hello," he said into the telephone. ' Yes, this is I, 
Morgan. Sboqt ? What is it?" 



HEARTS OF THREE 5 

He listened for a minute, then interrupted irritably : " Sell 
hell. Nothing of the sort. ... Of course, I'm glad to 
know. Even if it goes up ten points, which it won't, hold on 
to everything. It may be a legitimate rise, and it mayn't 
ever come down. It's solid. It's worth far more than it's 
listed. I know, if the public doesn't. A year from now it'll 
list at two hundred . . . that is, if Mexico can cut the revolu- 
tion stuff. . . . Whenever it drops you'll have buying orders 
from me. ... Nonsense. Who wants control? It's purely 
sporadic ... eh? I beg your pardon. I mean it's merely 
temporary. Now I'm going off fishing for a fortnight. If it 
goes down five points, buy. Buy all that's offered. Say, 
when a fellow's got a real bona fide property, being bulled 
is almost as bad as having the bears after one . . . yes. 
. . . Sure. . . . yes. Good-bye." 

And while Francis returned delightedly to his fishing-rods, 
Destiny, in Thomas Regan's down-town private office, was 
working overtime. Having arranged with his various brokers 
to buy, and, through his divers channels of secret publicity 
having let slip the cryptic tip that something was wrong with 
Tampico Petroleum's concessions from the Mexican govern- 
ment, Thomas Regan studied a report of his own oil-expert 
emissary who had spent two months on the spot spying out 
what Tampico Petroleum really had in sight and prospect. 

A clerk brought in a card with the information that the 
visitor was importunate and foreign. Eegan listened, glanced 
at the card, and said : 

' Tell this Mister Senor Alvarez Torres of Ciodad de Colon 
that I can't see him." 

Five minutes later the clerk was back, this time with a 
message pencilled on the card. Regan grinned as he read it : 

" Dear Mr. Regan, 
" Honoured Sir : 

/ have the honour to inform you that I have a tip 
on the location of the treasure Sir Henry Morgan 
buried in old pirate days. 

" Alvarez Torres." 

Regan shook his head, and the clerk was nearly out of the 
room when his employer suddenly recalled him. 

" Show him in at once." 

In the interval of being alone, Regan chuckled to himself 
as he rolled the new idea over in his mind. " The unlickeci 

B 



6 HEARTS OF THREE 

cub ! " he muttered through the smoke of the cigar he was 
lighting. * Thinks he can play the lion part old E.H.M. 
played. A trimming is what he needs, and old Grayhead 
Thomas B. will see that he gets it." 

Senor Alvarez Torres' English was as correct as his modish 
spring suit, and though the bleached yellow of his skin adver- 
tised his Latin-American origin, and though his black eyes 
were eloquent of the mixed lustres of Spanish and Indian 
long compounded, nevertheless he was as thoroughly New 
Yorkish as Thomas Began could have wished. 

" By great effort, and years of research, I have finally 
won to the clue to the buccaneer gold of Sir Henry Morgan," 
he preambled. " Of course it's on the Mosquito Coast. I'll 
tell you now that it's not a thousand miles from the Chiriqui 
Lagoon, and that Bocas del Toro, within reason, may be 
described as the nearest town. I was born there educated 
in Paris, however and I know the neighbourhood like a 
book. A small schooner the outlay is cheap, most very 
cheap but the returns, the reward the treasure!" 

Senor Torres paused in eloquent inability to describe more 
definitely, and Thomas Began, hard man used to dealing 
with hard- men, proceeded to bore into him and his data like 
a cross-examining criminal lawyer. 

' Yes," Senor Torres quickly admitted, " I am somewhat 
embarrassed how shall I say? for immediate funds." 

' You need the money," the stock operator assured him 
brutally, and he bowed pained acquiescence. 

Much more he admitted under the rapid-fire interrogation. 
It was true, he had but recently left Bocas del Toro, but he 
hoped never again to go back. And yet he would go back if 
possibly some arrangement . . . 

But Began shut him off with the abrupt way of the master- 
man dealing with lesser fellow-creatures. He wrote a check, 
in the name of Alvarez Torres, and when that gentleman 
glanced at it he read the figures of a thousand dollars. 

" Now here's the idea," said Began. " I put no belief 
whatsoever in your story. But I have a young friend my 
heart is bound up in the boy but he is too much about town, 
the white lights and the white-lighted ladies, and the rest 
you understand?" And Senor Alvarez Torres bowed as one 
man of the world to another. " Now, for the good of his 
health, as well as his wealth and the saving of his soul, the 
best thing that could happen to him is a trip after treasure, 



HEARTS OF THREE 7 

adventure, exercise, and . . . you readily understand, I am 
sure." 

Again Alvarez Torres bowed. 

" You need the money," Began continued. " Strive to 
interest him. That thousand is for your effort. Succeed io 
interesting him so that he departs after old Morgan's gold, 
and two thousand more is yours. So thoroughly succeed in 
interesting him that he remains away three months, tw<? 
thousand more six months, five thousand. Oh, believe me, 
I knew his father. We were comrades, partners, I I might 
say, almost brothers. I would sacrifice any sum to win his 
son to manhood's wholesome path. What do you say? The 
thousand is yours to begin with. Well?" 

"\Yith trembling fingers Senor Alvarez Torres folded and 
unfolded the check. 

" I . . .1 accept," he stammered and faltered in his 
eagerness. " I . . . I . . . How shall I say? ... I am 
yours to command." 

Five minutes later, as he arose to go, fully instructed in 
the part he was to play and with his story of Morgan's 
treasure revised to convincingness by the brass-tack business 
acumen of the stock-gambler, he blurted out, almost face- 
tiously, yet even more pathetically : 

" And the funniest thing about it, Mr. Began, is that it 
is true. Your advised changes in my narrative make it sound 
more true, but true it is under it all. I need the money. 
You are most munificent, and I shall do my best. ... I 
... I pride myself that I am an artist. But the real and 
solemn truth is that the clue to Morgan's buried loot is 
genuine. I have had access to records inaccessible to the 
public, which is neither here nor there, for the men of my 
own family they are family records ha^e had similar 
access, and have wasted their lives before me in the futile 
search. Yet were they on the right clue except that their 
wits made them miss the spot by twenty miles. It was there 
in the records. They missed it, because it was, I think, a 
deliberate trick, a conundrum, a puzzle, a disguisement, a 
maze, which I, and I alone, have penetrated and solved. 
The early navigators all played such tricks on the charts 
they drew. My Spanish race so hid the Hawaiian Islands by 
five degrees of longitude." 

All of which was in turn Greek to Thomas Began, who 
smiled his acceptance of listening and with the same smile 
conveyed his busy business-man's tolerant unbelief. 



8 HEARTS OF THEEE 

Scarcely was Senor Torres gone, when Francis Morgan was 
shown in. 

" Just thought I'd drop around for a bit of counsel," he 
said, greetings over. " And to whom but you should I apply, 
who so closely played the game with my father? You and 
he were partners, I understand, on some of the biggest deals. 
He always told me to trust your judgment. And, well, here 
I am, and I want to go fishing. What's up with Tampico 
Petroleum?" 

What is up?" Eegan countered, with fine simulation of 
ignorance of the very thing of moment he was responsible for 
precipitating. ' Tampico Petroleum?" 

Francis nodded, dropped into a chair, and lighted a cigar- 
ette, while Eegan consulted the ticker. 

Tampico Petroleum is up two points you should 
worry," he opined. 

" That's what I say," Francis concurred. " I should 
worry. But just the same, do you think some bunch, onto 
the inside value of it and it's big I speak under the rose, 
you know, I mean in absolute confidence?" Regan nodded. 
" It is big. It is right. It is the real thing. It is legitimate. 
Now this activity would you think that somebody, or some 
bunch, is trying to get control?" 

His father's associate, with the reverend gray of hair 
thatching his roof of crooked brain, shook the thatch. 

' Why," he amplified, " it may be just a flurry, or it may 
be a hunch on the stock public that it's really good. What do 
you say?" 

" Of course it's good," was Francis' warm response. 
" I've got reports, Began, so good they'd make your hair 
stand up. As I tell all my friends, this is the real legitimate. 
It's a damned shame I had to let the public in on it. It 
was so big, I just had to. Even all the money my father 
left me, couldn't swing it I mean, free money, not the 
stuff tied up money to work with." 

" Are you short?" the older man queried. 

" Oh, I've got a tidy bit to operate with," was the airy 
reply of youth. 
' " You mean . . . ?" 

" Sure. Just that. If she drops, I'll buy. It's finding 
money." 

" Just about how far would you buy?" was the next 
searching interrogation, masked by an expression of mingled 
good humor and approbation. 



HEARTS OF THREE 9 

" All I've got," came Francis Morgan's prompt answer. 
" I tell you, Eegan, it's immense." 

' I haven't looked into it to amount to anything, Francis; 
but I will say from the little I know that it listens good." 

" Listens! I teil you, Eegan, it's the Simon-pure, straight 
legitimate, and it's a shame to have it listed at all. I 
don't have to wreck anybody or anything to pull it across. 
The world will be better for my shooting into it I am afraid 
to say how many hundreds of millions of barrels of real 

oil say, I've got one well alone, in ths Huasteca field, 

that's gushed 27,000 barrels a day for seven months. And 
it's still doing it. That's the drop in the bucket we've 
got piped to market now. And it's twenty -two gravity, and 
carries less than two-tenths of one per cent, of sediment. 
And there's one gusher sixty miles of pipe to build to it, 
and pinched down to the limit of safety, that's pouring cut 
all over the landscape just about seventy thousand barrels 
a day. Of course, all in confidence, you know. We're 
doing nicely, and I don't want Tampico Petroleum to sky- 
rocket." 

" Don't you worry about that, my lad. You've got to 
get your oil piped, and the Mexican revolution straightened 
out before ever Tampico Petroleum soars. You go fishing 
and forget it." Eegan paused, with finely simulated sudden 
recollection, and picked up Alvarez Torres' card with the 
pencilled note. "Look, who's just been to see me." Appar- 
ently struck with an idea, Eegan retained the card a moment. 
" Why go fishing for mere trout? After all, it's only re- 
creation. Here's a thing to go fishing after that there's real 
recreation in, full-size man's recreation, and not the Persian- 
palace recreation of an Adirondack camp, with ice and ser- 
vants and electric push-buttons. Your father always was 
more than a mite proud of that old family pirate. He 
claimed to look like him, and you certainly look like your 
dad." 

" Sir Henry," Francis smiled, reaching for the card. 
" So am I a mite proud of the old scoundrel." 

He looked up questioningly from the reading of the card. 

" He's a plausible cuss," Eegan explained. " Claims 'to 
have been born right down there on the Mosquito Coast, 
and to have got the tip from private papers in his family. 
Not that I believe a word of it. I haven't time or interest 
to get started believing in stuff outside my own field." 

" Just the same, Sir Henry died practically a poor man," 



10 HEARTS OF THREE 

Francis asserted, the lines of the Morgan stubbornness knit- 
ting themselves for a flash on his brows. " And they never 
did find any of his buried treasure." 

" Good fishing," Eegan girded good-humor edly. 

"I'd like to meet this Alvarez Torres just the same," 
the young man responded. 

" Fool's gold," Eegan continued. " Though I must 
admit that the cuss is most exasperatingly plausible. Why, 
if I were younger but oh, the devil, my work's cut out for 
me here." 

"Do you know where I can find him?" Francis was 
asking the next moment, all unwittingly putting his neck 
into the net of tentacles that Destiny, in the visible incarna- 
tion of Thomas Eegan, was casting out to snare him. 

The next morning the meeting took place in Began 's 
office. Senor Alvarez Torres startled and controlled him- 
self at first sight of Francis' face. This was not missed by 
Eegan, who grinningly demanded: 

: ' Looks like the old pirate himself, eh?" 

; ' Yes, the resemblance is most striking," Torres lied, 
or half-lied, for he did recognize the resemblance to the 
portraits he had seen of Sir Henry Morgan ; although at the 
same time under his eyelids he saw the vision of another 
and living man who, no less than Francis and Sir Henry, 
looked as much like both of them as either looked like the 
other. 

Francis was youth that was not to be denied. Modern 
maps and ancient charts were pored over, as well* as old 
documents, handwritten in faded ink on time-yellowed 
paper, and at the end of half an hour he announced that 
the next fish he caught would be on either the Bull or 
the Calf the two islets off the Lagoon of Chiriqui, on one 
or the other of which Torres averred the treasure lay. 

" I'll catch to-night's train for New Orleans," Francis 
announced. " That will just make connection with one of 
the United Fruit Company's boats for Colon oh, I had it 
all looked up before I slept last night." 

" But don't charter a schooner at Colon," Torres advised. 
' Take the overland trip by horseback to Belen. There's 
the place to charter, with unsophisticated native sailors and 
everything else unsophisticated." 

" Listens good!" Francis agreed. " I always wanted to 
see that country down there. You'll be ready to catch to- 



HEARTS OF THREE 11 

night's train, Senor Torres? ... Of course, you under- 
stand, under the circumstances, I'll be the treasurer and 
foot the expenses." 

But at a privy glance from Began, Alvarez Torres lied 
with swift efficientness. 

" I must join you later, I regret, Mr. Morgan. Some 
little business that presses how shall I say? an insigni- 
ficant little lawsuit that must be settled first. Not that 
the sum at issue is important. But it is a family matter, 
and therefore gravely important. We Torres have our pride, 
which is a silly thing, I acknowledge, in this country, but 
which with us is very serious." 

" He can join afterward, and straighten you out if you've 
missed the scent," Regan assured Francis. " And, before 
it slips your mind, it might be just as well to arrange with 
Senor Torres some division of the loot ... if you ever find 
it." 

" What would you say?" Francis asked. 

" Equal division, fifty-fifty," Regan answered, magnifi- 
cently arranging the apportionment between the two men 
of something he was certain did not exist. 

" And you will follow after as soon as you can?" Francis 
asked the Latin American. ' Regan, take hold of his 
little law affair yourself and expedite it, won't you?" 

" Sure, boy," was the answer. " And, if it's needed, 
shall I advance cash to Senor Alvarez?" 

" Fine!" Francis shook their hands in both of his. 
" It will save me bother. And I've got to rush to pack 
and break engagements and catch that train. So long, 
Regan. Good-bye, Senor Torres, until we meet somewhere 
around Bocas del Toro, or in a little hole in the ground 
on the Bull or the Calf you say you think it's the Calf? 
Well, until then adios!' 

And Senor Alvarez Torres remained with Regan some 
time longer, receiving explicit instructions for the part he 
was to play, beginning with retardation and delay of Francis' 
expedition, and culminating in similar retardation and delay 
always to be continued. 

" In short," Regan concluded, " I don't almost care if 
he never comes back if you can keep him down there for 
the good of his health that long and longer." 



CHAPTEE II 

MONEY, like youth, will not be denied, and Francis Morgan, 
who was the man-legal and nature-certain representative 
of both youth and money, found himself one afternoon, 
three weeks after he had said good-bye to Began, becalmed 
close under the land on board his schooner, the Angelique. 
The water was glassy, the smooth roll scarcely perceptible, 
and, in sheer ennui and overplus of energy that likewise 
declined to be denied, he asked the captain, a breed, half 
Jamaica negro and half Indian, to order a small skiff over 
the side. 

" Looks like I might shoot a parrot or a monkey or 
something," he explained, searching the jungle-clad shore, 
half a mile away, through a twelve-power Zeiss glass. 

" Most problematic, sir, that you are bitten by a labarri, 
which is deadly viper in these parts," grinned the breed 
skipper and owner of the Angelique, who, from his Jamaica 
father had inherited the gift of tongues. 

But Francis was not to be deterred; for at the moment, 
through his glass, he had picked out, first, in the middle 
ground, a white hacienda, and second, on the beach, a 
white-clad woman's form, and further, had seen that she 
was scrutinising him and the schooner through a pair of 
binoculars. 

: ' Put the skiff over, skipper," he ordered. ;< Who lives 
around here? white folks?" 

" The Enrico Solano family, sir," was the answer. " My 
word, they are important gentlefolk, old Spanish, and they 
own the entire general landscape from the sea to the Cordil- 
leras and half of the Chiriqui Lagoon as well. They are 
very poor, most powerful rich ... in landscape and they 
are pridef ul and fiery as cayenne pepper. ' ' 

As Francis, in the tiny skiff, rowed shoreward, the 
skipper's alert eye noted that he had neglected to take along 
either rifle or shotgun for the contemplated parrot or 



HEARTS OF THREE 13 

monkey. And, next, the skipper's eye picked up the white- 
clad woman's figure against the dark edge of the jungle. 

Straight to the white beach of coral sand Francis rowed, 
not trusting himself to look over his shoulder to see if the 
woman remained or had vanished. In his mind was merely 
a young man's healthy idea of encountering a bucolic 
young lady, or a half -wild white woman for that matter, 
or at the best a very provincial one, with whom he could fool 
and fun away a few minutes of the calm that fettered 
the Ang clique to immobility. When the skifl grounded, he 
stepped out, and with one sturdy arm lifted its nose high 
enough up the sand to fasten it by its own weight. Then 
he turned around. The beach to the jungle was bare. He 
strode forward confidently. Any traveller, on so strange 
a shore, had a right to seek inhabitants for information on 
his way was the idea he was acting out. 

And he, who had anticipated a few moments of diversion 
merely, was diverted beyond his fondest expectations. Like 
a jack-in-the-box, the woman, who, in the flash of vision 
vouchsafed him demonstrated that she was a girl-woman, 
ripely mature and yet mostly girl, sprang out of the green 
wall of jungle and with both hands seized his arm. The 
hearty weight of grip in the seizure surprised him. He 
fumbled his hat off with his free hand and bowed to the 
strange woman with the imperturbableness of a Morgan, 
New York trained and disciplined to be surprised at no- 
thing, and received another surprise, or several surprises 
compounded. Not alone was it her semi-brunette beauty 
that impacted upon him with the weight of a blow, but it 
was her gaze, driven into him, that was all of sternness. 
Almost it seemed to him that he must know her. Strangers, 
in his experience, never so looked at one another. 

The double grip on his arm became a draw, as she 
muttered tensely : 

" Quick! Follow me!" 

A moment he resisted. She shook him in the fervor 
of her desire, and strove to pull him toward her and after 
her. With the feeling that it was some unusual game, 
such as one might meet up with on the coast of Central 
America, he yielded, smilingly, scarcely knowing whether 
he followed voluntarily or was being dragged into the jungle 
by her impetuosity. 

'Do as I do," she shot back at him over her shoulder, 
by this time leading him with one hand of hers in his. 



14 HEARTS OF THREE 

He smiled and obeyed, crouching when she crouched, 
doubling over when she doubled, while memories of John 
Smith and Pocahontas glimmered up in his fancy. 

Abruptly she checked him and sat down, her hand direct- 
ing him to sit beside her ere she released him, and pressed 
it to her heart while she panted : 

"Thank God! Oh, merciful Virgin!" 

In imitation, such having been her will of him, and 
such seeming to be the cue of the game, he smilingly pressed 
his own hand to his heart, although he called neither on 
God nor the Virgin. 

' Won't you ever be serious?" she flashed at him, noting 
his action. 

And Francis was immediately and profoundly, as well as 
naturally, serious. 

" My dear lady . . ." he began. 

But an abrupt gesture checked him; and, with growing 
wonder, he watched her bend and listen, and heard the 
movement of bodies padding down some runway several 
yards away. 

With a soft warm palm pressed commandingly to his to 
be silent, she left him with the abruptness that he had 
already come to consider as customary with her, and slipped 
away down the runway. Almost he whistled with astonish- 
ment. He might have whistled it, had he not heard her 
voice, not distant, in Spanish, sharply interrogate men 
whose Spanish voices, half-humbly, half-insistently and 
half-rebelliously, answered her. 

He heard them move on, still talking, and, after five 
minutes of dead silence, heard her call for him peremptorily 
to come out. 

" Gee! I wonder what Eegan would do under such cir- 
cumstances!" he smiled to himself as he obeyed. 

He followed her, no longer hand in hand, through the 
jungle to the beach. When she paused, he came beside her 
and faced her, still under the impress of the fantasy which 
possessed him that it was a game. 

"Tag!" he laughed, touching her on the shoulder. 
" Tag!" he reiterated. ; ' You're It!" 

The anger of her blazing dark eyes scorched him. 

" You fool!" she cried, lifting her finger with what he 
considered, undue intimacy to his toothbrush moustache. 
"As if that could disguise you ! ' ' 

" But my dear lady ..." he began to protest his 
certain unacquaintance with her. 



HEARTS OF THREE 15 

Her retort, which broke off his speech, was as unreal 
and bizarre as everything else which had gone before. So 
quick was it, that he failed to see whence the tiny silver 
revolver had been drawn, the muzzle of which was not pre- 
sented merely toward his abdomen, but pressed closely 
against it. 

"My dear lady . . ."he tried again. 

" I won't talk with you," she shut him off. " Go back 
to your schooner, and go away. . . ." He guessed the in- 
audible sob of the pause, ere she concluded, " Forever." 

This time his mouth opened to speech that was aborted 
on his lips by the stiff thrust of the muzzle of the weapon 
into his abdomen. 

" If you ever come back the Madonna forgive me I 
shall shoot myself." 

" Guess I'd better go, then," he uttered airily, as he 
turned to the skiff, toward which he walked in stately em- 
barrassment, half-filled with laughter for himself and for 
the ridiculous and incomprehensible figure he was cutting. 

Endeavoring to retain a last shred of dignity, he took 
no notice that she had followed him. As he lifted the skiff's 
nose from the sand, he was aware that a faint wind was 
rustling the palm fronds. A long breeze was darkening the 
water close at hand, while, far out across the mirrored 
water the outlying keys of Chiriqui Lagoon shimmered like 
a mirage above the dark-crisping water. 

A sob compelled him to desist from stepping into the 
skiff, and to turn his head. The strange young woman, 
revolver dropped to her side, was crying. His step back to 
her was instant, and the touch of his hand on her arm 
was sympathetic and inquiring. She shuddered at his touch, 
drew away from him, and gazed at him reproachfully 
through her tears. With a shrug of shoulders to her many 
moods and of surrender to the incomprehensibleness of the 
situation, he was about to turn to the boat, when she stopped 
him. 

" At least you ..." she began, then faltered and swal- 
lowed, " you might kiss me good-bye." 

She advanced impulsively, with outstretched arms, the 
revolver dangling incongruously from her right hand. 
Francis hesitated a puzzled moment, then gathered her in 
to receive an astounding passionate kiss on his lips ere she 
dropped her head on his shoulder in a breakdown of tears. 
Despite his amazement he was aware of the revolver press- 



16 HEAETS OF THREE 

ing flat-wise against his back between the shoulders. She 
lifted her tear-wet face and kissed him again and again, 
and he wondered to himself if he were a cad for meeting 
her kisses with almost equal and fully as mysterious im- 
pulsiveness. 

With a feeling that he did not in the least care how 
long the tender episode might last, he was startled by her 
quick drawing away from him, as anger and contempt 
blazed back in her face, and as she menacingly directed 
him with the revolver to get into the boat. 

He shrugged his shoulders as if to say that he could 
not say no to a lovely lady, and obeyed, sitting to the oars 
and facing her as he began rowing- away. 

" The Virgin save me from my wayward heart," she 
cried, with her free hand tearing a locket from her bosom, 
and, in a shower of golden beads, flinging the ornament 
into the waterway midway between them. 

From the edge of the jungle he saw three men, armed 
with rifles, run toward her where she had sunk down in 
the sand. In the midst of lifting her up, they caught sight 
of Francis, who had begun rowing a strong stroke. Over 
his shoulder he glimpsed the Angelique, close hauled and 
slightly heeling, cutting through the water toward him. The 
next moment, one of the trio on the beach, a bearded elderly 
man, was directing the girl's binoculars on him. And the 
moment after, dropping the glasses, he was taking aim 
with his rifle. 

The bullet spat on the water within a yard of the skiff's 
side, and Francis saw the girl spring to her feet, knock up the 
rifle with her arm, and spoil the second shot. Next, pulling 
lustily, he saw the men separate from her to sight their 
rifles, and saw her threatening them with the revolver 
into lowering their weapons. 

The Angelique, thrown up into the wind to stop way, 
foamed alongside, and with an agile leap Francis was 
aboard, while already, the skipper putting the wheel up, 
the schooner was paying off and filling. With boyish zest, 
Francis wafted a kiss of farewell to the girl, who was star- 
ing toward him, and saw her collapse on the shoulders 
of the bearded elderly man. 

" Cayenne pepper, eh those damned, horrible, crazy- 
proud Solanos," the breed skipper flashed at Francis with 
white teeth of laughter. 

"Just bugs clean crazy, nobody at home," Francis 



HEARTS OF THREE 17 

laughed back, as he sprang to the rail to waft further kisses 
to the strange damsel. 

Before the land wind, the Ang clique made the outer rim 
of Chiriqui Lagoon and the Bull and Calf, some fifty miles 
farther along on the rim, by midnight, when the skipper 
hove to to wait for daylight. After breakfast, rowed by a 
Jamaica negro sailor in the skiff, Francis landed to re- 
connoiter on the Bull, which was the larger island and 
which the skipper had told him ho might find occupied at 
that season of the year by turtle-catching Indians from the 
mainland. 

And Francis very immediately found that he had tra- 
versed not merely thirty degrees of latitude from New 
York but thirty hundred years, or centuries for that matter, 
from the last word of civilisation to almost the first word 
of the primeval. Naked, except for breech-clouts of gunny- 
sacking, armed with cruelly heavy hacking blades of 
machetes, the turtle-catchers were swift in proving them- 
selves arrant beggars and dangerous man-killers. The Bull 
belonged to them, they told him through the medium of 
his Jamaican sailor's interpreting; but the Calf, which used 
to belong to them for the turtle season now was possessed 
by a madly impossible Gringo, whose reckless, dominating 
ways had won from them the respect of fear for a two- 
legged human creature who was more fearful than them- 
selves. 

While Francis, for a silver dollar, dispatched one of them 
with a message to the mysterious Gringo that he desired 
to call on him, the rest of them clustered about Francis' 
skiff, whining for money, glowering upon him, and even 
impudently stealing his pipe, yet warm from his lips, which 
he had laid beside him in the sternsheets. Promptly 
he had laid a blow on the ear of the thief, and the next 
thief who seized it, and recovered the pipe. Machetes out 
and sun-glistening their clean-slicing menace, Francis 
covered and controlled the gang with an automatic pistol; 
and, while they drew apart in a group and whispered omin- 
ously, he made the discovery that his lone sailor-interpreter 
was a weak brother and received his returned messenger. 

The negro went over to the turtle-catchers and talked 
with a friendliness and subservience, the tones of which 
Francis did not like. The messenger handed him his note, 
across which was scrawled in pencil : 



18 HEARTS OF THREE 

"Vamos." 

" Guess I'll have to go across myself," Francis told the 
negro whom he had beckoned back to him. 

" Better be very careful and utmostly cautious, sir," the 
negro warned him. " These animals without reason are 
very problematically likely to act most unreasonably, sir." 

" Get into the boat and row me over," Francis com- 
manded shortly. 

" No, sir, I regret much to say, sir," was the black 
sailor's answer. " I signed on, sir, as a sailor to Captain 
Trefethen, but I didn't sign on for no suicide, and I can't 
see my way to rowin' you over, sir, to certain death. Best 
thing we can do is to get out of this hot place that's cer- 
tainly and without peradventure of a doubt goin' to get hotter 
for us if we remain, sir." 

In huge disgust and scorn Francis pocketed his automatic, 
turned his back on the sacking-clad savages, and walked 
away through the palms. Where a great boulder of coral 
rock had been upthrust by some ancient restlessness of the 
earth, he came down to the beach. On the shore of the 
Calf, across the narrow channel, he 'made out a dinghy 
drawn up. Drawn up on his own side was a crank-looking 
and manifestly leaky dug-out canoe. As he tilted the 
water out of it, he noticed that the turtle -catchers had fol- 
lowed and were peering at him from the edge of the coco- 
nuts, though his weak-hearted sailor was not in sight. 

To paddle across the channel was a matter of moments, 
but scarcely was he on the beach of the Calf when further 
inhospitality greeted him on the part of a tah 1 , barefooted 
young man, who stepped from behind a palm, automatic 
pistol in hand, and shouted : 

'Vamos! Get out ! Scut!" 

' Ye gods and little fishes!" Francis grinned, half -humor- 
ously, half -seriously. " A fellow can't move in these parts 
without having a gun shoved in his face. And everybody 
says get out pronto." 

" Nobody invited you," the .stranger retorted. " You're 
intruding. Get off my island. I'll give you half a minute." 
" I'm getting sore, friend," Francis assured him truth- 
fully, at the same time, out of the corner of his eye, mea- 
suring the distance to the nearest palm-trunk. " Every- 
body I meet around here is crazy and discourteous, and pee- 
vishly anxious to be rid of my presence, and they've just got 



HEARTS OF THREE 19 

me feeling that way myself. Besides, just because you 
tell me it's your island is no proof " 

The swift rush he made to the shelter of the palm left 
his sentence unfinished. His arrival behind the trunk was 
simultaneous with the arrival of a bullet that thudded into 
the other side of it. 

" Now, just for that!'' he called out, as he centered a 
bullet into the trunk of the other man's palm. 

The next few minutes they blazed away, or waited for cal- 
culated shots, and when Francis' eighth and last had been 
fired, he was unpleasantly certain that he had counted only 
seven shots for the stranger. He cautiously exposed part 
of his sun-helmet, held in his hand, and had it perforated. 

"What gun are you using?" he asked with cool polite- 
ness. 

" Colt's," came the answer. 

Francis stepped boldly .into the open, saying : " Then 
you're all out. I counted 'em. Eight. Now we can talk." 

The stranger stepped out, and Francis could not help 
admiring the fine figure of him, despite the fact that a 
dirty pair of canvas pants, a cotton undershirt, and a 
floppy sombrero constituted his garmenting. Further, it 
seemed he had previously known him, though it did not 
enter his mind that he was looking at a replica of himself. 

" Talk!" the stranger sneered, throwing down his pistol 
and drawing a knife. " Now we'll just cut oft your ears, 
and maybe scalp you." 

" Gee! You're sweet-natured and gentle animals in this 
neck of the woods," Francis retorted, his anger and disgust 
increasing. He drew his own hunting knife, brand new 
from the shop and shining. " Say, let's wrestle, and cut 
out this ten-twenty-and-thirty knife stuff." 

"I want your ears," the stranger answered pleasantly, 
as he slowly advanced. 

" Sure. First down, and the man who wins the fall gets 
the other fellow's ears." 

"Agreed." The young man in the canvas trousers 
sheathed his knife. 

" Too bad there isn't a moving picture camera to film 
this," Francis girded, sheathing his own knife. " I'm sore 
as a boil. I feel like a heap bad Injun. Watch out ! I'm 
coming in a rush ! Anyway and everyway for the first fall!" 

Action and word went together, and his glorious rush 
ended ignorainiously, for the stronger, apparently braced for 



20 HEARTS OF THREE 

the shock, yielded the instant their bodies met and fell 
o>ver on his back, at the same time planting his foot in 
Francis' abdomen and, from the back purchase on the 
ground, transforming Francis' rush into a wild forward 
somersault. 

The fall on the sand knocked most of Francis' breath 
out of him, and the flying body of his foe, impacting on 
him, managed to do for what little breath was left him. 
As he lay speechless on his back, he observed the man on 
top of him gazing down at him with sudden curiosity. 

' What d' you want to wear a mustache for?" the 
stranger muttered. 

" Go on and cut 'em off," Francis gasped, with the first 
of his returning breath. " The ears are yours, but the 
mustache is mine. It is not in the bond. Besides, that fall 
was straight jiu jiutsu." 

:< You said ' anyway and everyway for the first fall,' 
the other quoted laughingly. " As for your ears, keep them. 
I never intended to cut them off, and now that I look at 
them closely the less I want them. Get up and get out 
of here. I've licked you. Vamos I And don't come sneak- 
ing around here again ! Git ! Scut ! ' ' 

In greater disgust than ever, to which was added the 
humiliation of defeat, Francis turned down to the beach 
toward his canoe. 

" Say, Little Stranger, do you mind leaving your card?" 
the victor called after him. 

' Visiting cards and cut-throating don't go together," 
Francis shot back across his shoulder, as he squatted in the 
canoe and dipped his paddle. " My name's Morgan." 

Surprise and startlement were the stranger's portion, - as 
he opened his mouth to speak, then changed his mind and 
murmured to himself, " Same stock no wonder we look 
alike." 

Still in the throes of disgust, Francis regained the shore 
of the Butt, sat down on the edge of the dugout, filled and 
lighted his pipe, and gloomily meditated. Crazy, every- 
body, was the run of his thought. Nobody acts with reason. 
I'd like to see old Eegan try to do business with these 
people. They'd get his ears." 

Could he have seen, at that moment, the young man of 
the canvas pants and of familiar appearance, he would have 
been certain that naught but lunacy resided in Latin 
America; for the young man in question, inside a grass- 



HEAETS OF THEEE 21 

thatched hut in the heart of his island, grinning to himseli 
as he uttered aloud, " I guess I put the fear of God into that 
particular member of the Morgan family," had just begun 
to stare at a photographic reproduction of an oil painting on 
the wall of the original Sir Henry Morgan. 

" Well, Old Pirate," he continued grinning, " two of your 
latest descendants came pretty close to getting each other 
with automatics that would make your antediluvian horse- 
pistols look like thirty cents." 

He bent to a battered and worm-eaten sea-chest, lifted 
the lid that was monogramed with an " M," and again 
addressed the portrait: 

" Well, old pirate Welshman of an ancestor, all you've 
left me is the old duds and a face that looks like yours. And 

I guess, if I was really fired up, I could play your Port-au- 
Prince stunt about as well as you played it yourself." 

A moment later, beginning to dress himself in the age- 
worn and moth-eaten garments of the chest, he added: 

II Well, here's the old duds on my back. Come, Mister 
Ancestor, down out of your frame, and dare to tell me a point 
of looks in which we differ." 

Clad in Sir Henry Morgan's ancient habiliments, a cutlass 
strapped on around the middle and two flint-lock pistols of 
huge and ponderous design thrust into his waist-scarf, the 
resemblance between the living man and the pictured 
semblance of the old buccaneer who had been long since 
resolved to dust, was striking. 

" Back to back against the mainmast, 
Held at bay the entire crew ..." 

{ 

As the young man, picking the strings of a guitar, began 
to sing the old buccaneer rouse, it seemed to him that the 
picture of his forebear faded into another picture and that he 
saw: 

The old forebear himself, back to a mainmast, cutlass out 
and flashing, facing a semi-circle of fantastically clad sailor 
cutthroats, while behind him, on the opposite side of the 
mast, another similarly garbed and accoutred man, with 
cutlass flashing, faced the other semi-circle of cutthroats 
that completed the ring about the mast. 

The vivid vision of his fancy was broken by the breaking 
of a guitar-string which he had thrummed too passionately. 
And in the sharp pause of silence, it seemed that a fresh 
o 



22 HEARTS OF THREE 

vision of old Sir Henry came to him, down out of. the frame 
and beside him, real in all seeming, plucking at his sleeve to 
lead him out of the hut and whispering a ghostly repetition 
of: 

" Back to back against the mainmast 
Held at bay the entire crew. ' ' 

The young man obeyed his shadowy guide, or some 
prompting of his own profound of intuition, and went out 
the door and down to the beach, where, gazing across the 
narrow channel, on the beach of the Bull, he saw his late 
antagonist, backed up against the great boulder of coral 
rock, standing off an attack of sack-clouted, machete- 
wielding Indians with wide sweeping strokes of a driftwood 
timber. 

And Francis, in extremity, swaying dizzily from the blow 
of a rock on his head, saw the apparition, that almost 
convinced him he was already dead and in the realm of the 
shades, of Sir Henry Morgan himself, cutlass in hand, 
rushing up the beach to his rescue. Further, the appari- 
tion, brandishing the cutlass and laying out Indians right 
and left, was bellowing: 

' Back to back against the mainmast, 
Held at bay the entire crew." 

As Francis' knees gave under him and he slowly crumpled 
and sank down, he saw the Indians scatter and flee before 
the onslaught of the weird pirate figure and heard their cries 
of: 

' ' Heaven help us ! " ' The Virgin protect us ! " " It's the 
ghost of old Morgan ! ' ' 

Francis next opened his eyes inside the grass hut in the 
midmost center of the Calf. First, in the glimmering f 
sight of returning consciousness, he beheld the pictured 
lineaments of Sir Henry Morgan staring down at him from 
the wall. Next, it was a younger edition of the same, in 
three dimensions of living, moving flesh, who thrust a mug 
of brandy to his lips and bade him drink. Francis was on 
his feet ere he touched lips to the mug; and both he and the 
stranger man, moved by a common impulse, looked squarely 
into each other's eyes, glanced at the picture on the wall 



HEARTS OF THEEE 23 

find touched mugs in a salute to the picture and to each 
other ere they drank. 

' You told me you were a Morgan," the stranger said. 
" I am a Morgan. That man on the wall fathered my 
breed. Your breed?" 

" The old buccaneer's," Francis returned. " My first 
name is Francis. And yours?" 

" Henry straight from the original. We must be remote 
cousins or something or other. I'm after the foxy old 
niggardly old Welshman's loot." 

" So'm I," said Francis, extending his hand. " But to 
hell with sharing." 

' The old blood talks in you," Henry smiled approbation. 
" For him to have who finds. I've turned most of this 
island upside down in the last six months, and all I've found 
are these old duds. I'm with you to beat you if I can, but 
to put my back against the mainmast with you any time the 
needed call goes out." 

" That song's a wonder/' Francis urged. " I want to 
learn it. Lift the stave again." 

And together, clanking their mugs, they sang: 

' Back to back against the mainmast, 

Held at bay the entire crew ..." 



CHAPTEE III 

BUT a splitting headache put a stop to Francis' singing and 
made him glad to be swung' in a cool hammock by Henry, 
who rowed off to the Angeligue with orders from his visitor 
to the skipper to stay at anchor but not to permit any of his 
sailors to land on the Calf. Not until late in the morning 
of the following day, after hours of heavy sleep, did Francis 
get on his feet and announce that his head was clear again. 

"I know what it is got bucked off a horse once," his 
strange relative sympathised, as he poured him a huge cup 
of fragrant black coffee. " Drink that down. It will make 
a new man of you. Can't offer you much for breakfast 
except bacon, sea biscuit, and some scrambled turtle eggs. 
They're fresh. I guarantee that, for I dug them out this 
morning while you slept." 

" That coffee is a meal in itself," Francis praised, mean- 
while studying his kinsman and ever and anon glancing at 
the portrait of their relative. 

' You're just like him, and in more than mere looks," 
Henry laughed, catching him in his scrutiny. ' When you 
refused to share yesterday, it was old Sir Henry to the fife. 
He had a deep-seated antipathy against sharing, even with 
his own crews. It's what caused most of his troubles. 
And he's certainly never shared a penny of his treasure with 
any of his descendants. Now I'm different. Not only will 
I share the Calf with you; but I'll present you with my half 
as well, lock, stock, and barrel, this grass hut, all these nice 
furnishings, tenements, hereditaments, and everything, and 
what's left of the turtle eggs. When do vou want to move 
in?" 

' You mean . . . ?" Francis asked. 

" Just that. There's nothing here. I've just about dug 
the island upside down and all I found was the chest there 
full of old clothes." 

"It must have encouraged you." 

24 



HEAETS OF THREE 25 

" Mightily. I thought I had a hammerlock on it. At 
any rate, it showed I'm on the right track." 

'What's the matter with trying the Bull?" Francis 
queried. 

" That's my idea right now," was the answer, " though 
I've got another clue for over on the mainland. Those old- 
timers had a way of noting down their latitude and longitude 
whole degrees out of the way." 

" Ten North and Ninety East on the chart might mean 
Twelve North and Ninety-two East," Francis concurred. 
' ' Then again it might mean Eight North and Eighty-eight 
East. They carried the correction in their heads, and if 
they died unexpectedly, which was their custom, it seems, 
the secret died with them." 

" I've half a notion to go over to the Bull and chase those 
turtle-catchers back to the mainland," Henry went on. 
" And then again I'd almost like to tackle the mainland clue 
first. I suppose you've got a stock of clues, too?" 

" Sure thing," Francis nodded. " But say, I'd like to 
take back what I said about not sharing." 

" Say the word," the other encouraged. 

" Then I do say it." 

Their hands extended and gripped in ratification. 

" Morgan and Morgan strictly limited," chortled Francis. 

" Assets, the whole Caribbean Sea, the Spanish Main, 
most of Central America, one chest full of perfectly no good 
old clothes, and a lot of holes in the ground," Henry joined 
in the other's humor. " Liabilities, snake-bite, thieving 
Indians, malaria, yellow fever " 

" And pretty girls with a habit of kissing total strangers 
one moment, and of sticking up said total strangers with 
shiny silver revolvers the next moment," Francis cut in. 
' Let me tell you about it. Day before yesterday, I rowed 
ashore over on the mainland. The moment I landed, the 
prettiest girl in the world pounced out upon me and dragged 
me away into the jungle. Thought she was going to eat me 
or marry me. I didn't know which. And before I could 
find out, what's the pretty damsel do but pass uncompli- 
mentary remarks on my mustache and chase me back to the 
boat with a revolver. Told me to beat it and never come 
back, or words to that effect." 

"Whereabouts on the mainland was this?" Henry 
demanded, with a tenseness which Francis, chuckling his 
reminiscence of the misadventure, did not notice. 



26 HEARTS OF THREE 

" Down' toward the other end of Chiriqui Lagoon," he 
replied. ' It was the stamping ground of the Solano 
family, I learned; and they are a red peppery family, as 1 
found out. But I haven't told you all. Listen. First she 
dragged me into the vegetation and insulted my mustache ; 
next she chased me to the boat with a drawn revolver ; and 
then she wanted to know why I didn't kiss her. Can you 
beat that?" 

" And did you?" Henry demanded, his hand uncon- 
sciously clinching by his side. 

"What could a poor stranger in a strange land do? It 
was some armful of pretty girl " 

The next fraction of a second Francis had sprung to his 
feet and blocked before his jaw a crushing blow of Henry's 
fist. 

" I ... I beg your pardon," Henry mumbled, and 
slumped down on the ancient sea chest. ;< I'm a fool, I 
know, but I'll be hanged if I can stand for " 

" There you go again," Francis interrupted resentfully. 
" As crazy as everybody else in this crazy country. One 
moment you bandage up my cracked head, and the next 
moment you want to knock that same head clean of? of me. 
As bad as the girl taking turns at kissing me and shoving a 
gun into my midrif." 

" That's right, fire away, I deserve it," Henry admitted 
ruefully > but involuntarily began to fire up as he continued 
with: " Confound you, that was Leoncia." 

" What if it was Leoncia? Or Mercedes? Or Dolores? 
Can't a fellow kiss a pretty girl at a revolver's point without 
having his head knocked off by the next ruffian he meets in 
dirty canvas pants on a notorious sand -heap of an island?" 

" When the pretty girl is engaged to marry the ruffian in 
the dirty canvas pants " 

" You don't mean to tell me " the other broke in 

excitedly. 

" It isn't particularly amusing to said ruffian to be told 
that his sweetheart has been kissing a ruffian she never saw 
before from off a disreputable Jamaica nigger's schooner," 
Henry completed his sentence. 

" And she took me for you," Francis mused, glimpsing 
the situation. " I don't blame you for losing your temper, 
though you must admit it's a nasty one. Wanted to cut off 
my ears yesterday, didn't you?" 



HEARTS OF THREE 27 

" Yours is just as nasty, Francis, my boy. The way you 
insisted that I cut them off when I had you down ha ! ha ! " 
Both young men laughed in hearty amity. 
" It's the old Morgan temper," Henry said. ' He was 
by all the accounts a peppery old cuss." 

" No more peppery than those Solanos you're marrying 
into. Why, most of the family came down on the beach 
and peppered me with rifles on my departing way. And 
your Leoncia pulled her little popgun on a long-bearded old 
fellow who might have been her father and gave him to 
understand she'd shoot him full of holes if he didn't stop 
plugging away at me." 

" It was her father, I'll wager, old Enrico himself," 
Henry exclaimed. " And the other chaps were her 
brothers." 

" Lovely lizards!" ejaculated Francis. " Say, don't you 
think life is liable to become a trifle monotonous when you're 
married into such a peaceful, dove-like family as that !" He 
broke off, struck by a new idea. " By the way, Henry, 
since they all thought it was you, and not I, why in thunder- 
ation did they want to kill you ? Some more of your crusty 
Morgan temper that peeved your prospective wife's 
relatives?" 

Henry looked at him a moment, as if debating with him- 
self, and then answered. 

" I don't mind telling you. It is a nasty mess, and I 
suppose my temper was to blame. I quarreled with her 

uncle. Pie was her father's youngest brother " 

' Was?" interrupted Francis with significant stress on 
the past tense. 

* Was, I said," Henry nodded. " He isn't now. His 
name was Alfaro Solano, and he had some temper himself. 
They claim to be descended from the Spanish conquis tad ores, 
and they are prouder than hornets. He'd made money in 
logwood, and he had just got a big henequen plantation 
started farther down the coast. And then we quarreled. 
It was in the little town over there San Antonio. It may 
have been a misunderstanding, though I still maintain he 
was wrong. He always was looking for trouble with me 
didn't want me to marry Leoncia, you see. 

' Well, it was a hot time. It started in a pulqueria 
where Alfaro had been drinking more mescal than was good 
for him. He insulted me all right. They had to hold us 
apart and take our guns away, and we separated swearing 



28 HEARTS OF THREE 

death and destruction. That was the trouble our quarrel 
and our threats were heard by a score of witnesses. 

' Within two hours the Comisario himself and two gen- 
darmes found me bending over Alfaro's body in a back street 
in the town. He'd been knifed in the back, and I'd stumbled 
over him on the way to the beach. Explain? No such 
thing. There were the quarrel and the threats of vengeance, 
and there I was, not two hours afterward, caught dead to 
right with his warm corpse. I haven't been back in San 
Antonio since, and I didn't waste any time in getting away. 
Alfaro was very popular, you know the dashing type that 
catches the rabble's fancy. Why, they couldn't have been 
persuaded to give me even the semblance of a trial. Wanted 
my blood there and then, and I departed very pronto. 

" Next, up at Bocas del Toro, a messenger from Leoncia 
delivered back the engagement ring. And there you are. I 
developed a real big disgust, and, since I didn't dare go back 
with all the Solanos and the rest of the population thirsting 
for my life, I came over here to play hermit for a while and 
dig for Morgan's treasure . . . Just the same, I wonder 
who did stick that knife into Alfaro. If ever I find him, 
then I clear myself with Leoncia and the rest of the Solanos 
and there isn't a doubt in the world that there'll be a 
wedding. And now that it's all over I don't mind admit- 
ting that Alfaro was a good scout, even if his temper did go 
off at half-cock." 

" Clear as print," Francis murmured. " No wonder her 
father and brothers wanted to perforate me. Why, the more 
I look at you, the more I see we're as like as two peas, 
except for my mustache " 

" And for this . . . ' Henry rolled up his sleeve, and 
on the left forearm showed a long, thin white scar. " Got 
that when I was a boy. Fell oft a windmill and through the 
glass roof of a hothouse." 

" Now listen to me," Francis said, his face beginning to 
light with the project forming in his mind. " Somebody's 
got to straighten you out of this mess, and the chap's name 
is Francis, partner in the firm of Morgan and Morgan. You 
stick around here, or go over and begin prospecting on the 
Bull, while I go back and explain things to Leoncia and her 
people " 

" If only they don't shoot you first before you can explain 
you are not I," Henry muttered bitterly. " That's the 



HEARTS OF THREE 29 

trouble with those Solanos. They shoot first and talk after- 
ward. They won't listen to reason unless it's post mortem. 

" Quess I'll take a chance, old man," Francis assured 
the other, himself all fire with the plan of clearing up the 
distressing situation between Henry and the girl. 

But the thought of her perplexed him. He experienced 
more than a twinge of regret that the lovely creature 
belonged of right to the man who looked so much like him, 
and he saw again the vision of her on the beach, when, with 
conflicting emotions, she had alternately loved him and 
yearned toward him and blazed her scorn and contempt on 
him. He sighed involuntarily. 

' What's that for?" Henry demanded quizzically. 

" Leoncia is an exceedingly pretty girl," Francis 
answered with transparent frankness. " Just the same, 
she's yours, and I'm going to make it my business to see 
that you get her. Where's that ring she returned? If I 
don't put it on her finger for you and be back here in a week 
with the good news, you can cut off my mustache along with 
my ears." 

An hour later, Captain Trefethen having sent a boat to 
the beach from the Angelique hi response to signal, the two 
young men were saying good-bye. 

" Just two things more, Francis. First, and I forgot to 
tell you, Leoncia is not a Solano at all, though she thinks 
she is. Alfaro told me himself. She is an adopted child, 
and old Enrico fairly worships her, though neither his blood 
nor his race runs in her veins. Alfaro never told me the 
ins and outs of it, though he did say she wasn't Spanish at 
all. I don't even know whether she's English or American. 
She talks good enough English, though she got that at 
convent. You see, she was adopted when she was a wee 
thing, and she's never known anything else than that Enrico 
is her father." 

" And no wonder she scorned and hated me for you," 
Francis laughed, " believing, as she did, as she still does, 
that you knifed her full blood-uncle in the back." 

Henry nodded, and went on. 

' The other thing is fairly important. And that's the 
law. Or the absence of it, rather. They make it whatever 
they want it, down in this out-of-the-way hole. It's a long 
way to Panama, and the gobernador of this state, or district, 
or whatever they call it, is a sleepy old Silenus. The Jefe 
Politico at San Antonio is the man to keep an eye on. He's 



30 HEARTS OF -THREE 

the little czar of that neck of the woods, and he's some 
crooked hombre, take it from yours truly. Graft is too weak 
a word to apply to some of his deals, and he's as cruel and 
blood-thirsty as a weasel. And his one crowning delight is 
an execution. He dotes on a hanging. Keep your weather 
eye on him, whatever you do ... And, well, so long. 
And half of whatever I find on the Bull is yours : . . . and 
see you get that ring back on Leoncia's finger." 

Two days later, after the half-breed skipper had recon- 
noitered ashore and brought back the news that all the men 
of Leoncia's family were away, Francis had himself landed 
on the beach where he had first met her. No maidens with 
silver revolvers nor men with rifles were manifest. All was 
placid, and the only person on the beach was a ragged little 
Indian boy who at sight of a coin readily consented to carry 
a note up to the young senorita of the big hacienda. As 
Francis scrawled on a sheet of paper from his notebook, " I 
am the man whom ,you mistook for Henry Morgan, and I 
have a- message for you from him," he little dreamed that 
untoward happenings were about to occur with as equal 
rapidity and frequence as on his first visit. 

For that matter, could he have peeped over the outjut of 
rock against which he leaned his back while composing the 
note to Leoncia, he would have been star bled by a vision of 
the young lady herself, emerging like a sea-goddess fresh 
from a swim in the sea. But he wrote calmly on, the 
Indian lad even more absorbed than himself in the operation, 
so that it was Leoncia, coming around the rock from behind, 
who first caught sight of him. Stifling an exclamation, she 
turned and fled blindly into the green screen of jungle. 

His first warning of her proximity was immediately there- 
after, when a startled scream of fear aroused him. Note 
and pencil fell to the sand as he sprang toward the direction 
of the cry and collided with a wet and scantily dressed young 
woman who was recoiling backward from whatever had 
caused her scream. The unexpectedness of the collision 
was provocative of a second startled scream from her ere she 
could turn and recognize that it was not a new attack but a 
rescuer. 

She darted past him, her face colorless from the fright, 
stumbled over the Indian boy, nor paused until she was out 
on the open sand. 



HEARTS OF THREE 31 

"What is it?" Francis demanded. "Are you hurt? 
What's happened?" 

She pointed at her bare knee, where two tiny drops of 
blood oozed forth side by side from two scarcely perceptible 
lacerations. 

" It was a viperine," she said. " A deadly viperine. I 
shall be a dead woman in five minutes, and I am glad, glad, 
for then my heart will be tormented no more by you." 

She leveled an accusing finger at him, gasped the begin- 
ning of denunciation she could not utter, and sank down in a 
faint. 

Francis knew about the snakes of Central America merely 
by hearsay, but the hearsay was terrible enough. Men 
talked of even mules and dogs dying in horrible agony five 
to ten minutes after being struck by tiny reptiles fifteen to 
twenty inches long. Small wonder she had fainted, was 
his thought, with so terribly rapid a poison doubtlessly 
beginning to work. His knowledge of the treatment of 
snake-bite was likewise hearsay, but flashed through his 
mind the recollection of the need of a tourniquet to shut off 
the circulation above the wound and prevent the poison from 
reaching the heart. 

He pulled out his handkerchief and tied it loosely around 
her leg above the knee, thrust in a short piece of driftwood 
stick, and twisted the handkerchief to savage tightness. 
Next, and all by hearsay, working swiftly, he opened the 
small blade of his pocket-knife, burned it with several 
matches to make sure against germs, and cut carefully but 
remorsely into the two lacerations made by the snake's 
fangs. 

He was in a fright himself, working with feverish deftness 
and apprehending at any moment that the pangs of dissolu- 
tion would begin to set in on the beautiful form before him. 
From all he had heard, the bodies of snake- victims began to 
swell quickly and prodigiously. Even as he finished excor- 
iating the fang-wounds, his mind was made up to his next 
two acts. First, he would suck out all poison he possibly 
could; and, next, light a cigarette and with its rive end 
proceed to cauterize the flesh. 

But while he was still making light, criss-cross cuts with 
the point of his knife-blade, she began to move restlessly. 

' Lie down," he commanded, as she sat up, and just 
when he was bending his lips to the task. 

In response, he received a resounding slap alongside of 



32 HEAETS OF THREE 

his face from her little hand. At the same instant the 
Indian lad danced out of the jungle, swinging a small dead 
snake by the tail and crying exultingly : 

' ' Labarri ! Labarri ! ' ' 

At which Francis assumed the worst. 

" Lie down, and be quiet!" he repeated harshly. " You 
haven't a second to lose." 

But she had eyes only for the dead snake. Her relief 
was patent; but Francis was no witness to it, for he was 
bending again to perform the classic treatment of snake-bite. 

" You dare!" she threatened him. " It's only a baby 
labarri, and its bite is harmless. I thought it was a viperine. 
They look alike when the labarri is small." 

The constriction of the circulation by the tourniquet 
pained her, and she glanced down and discovered his hand- 
kerchief knotted around her leg. 

"Oh, what have you done?" 

A warm blush began to suffuse her face. 
' But it was only a baby labarri," she reproached him. 

' You told me it was a viperine," he retorted. 

She hid her face in her hands, although the pink of flush 
burned furiously in her ears. Yet he could have sworn, 
unless it were hysteria, that she was laughing ; and he knew 
for the first time how really hard was the task he had under- 
taken to put the ring of another man on her finger. So he 
deliberately hardened his heart against the beauty and 
fascination of her, and said bitterly : 

" And now, I suppose some of your gentry will shoot me 
full of holes because I don't know a labarri from a viperine. 
You might call some of the farm hands down to do it. Or 
maybe you'd like to take a shot at me yourself." 

But she seemed not to have heard, for she had arisen 
with the quick litheness to be expected of so gloriously 
fashioned a creature, and was stamping her foot on the sand. 

" It's asleep my foot," she explained with laughter un- 
hidden this time by her hands. 

' You're acting perfectly disgracefully," he assured her 
wickedly, "when you consider that I am the murderer of 
your uncle." 

Thus reminded, the laughter ceased and the color receded 
from her fa^e. She made no reply, but bending, with 
fingers that trembled with anger she strove to unknot the 
handkerchief as if it were some loathsome thing. 

" Better let me help," he suggested pleasantly. 



HEARTS OF THEEE 33 

" You beast!" she flamed at him. " Step aside. Your 
shadow falls upon me." 

" Now you are delicious, charming," he girded, belying 
the desire that stirred compellingly within him to clasp her 
in his arms. ' You quite revive my last recollection of you 
here on the beach, one second reproaching me for not kissing 
you, the next second kissing me yes, you did, too -and the 
third second threatening to destroy my digestion forever 
with that little tin toy pistol of yours. No; you haven't 
changed an iota from last time,. You're the same spitfire of 
a Leoncia. You'd better let me untie that for you. Don't 
you see the knot is jammed? Your little fingers can never 
manage it." 

She stamped her foot in sheer inarticulateness of rage. 

" Lucky for me you don't make a practice of taking your 
tin toy pistol in swimming with you," ho teased on, " or 
else there 'd be a funeral right here on the beach pretty 
pronto of a perfectly nice young man whose intentions are 
never less than the best." 

The Indian boy returned at this moment running with her 
bathing wrap, which she snatched from him and put on 
hastily. Next, with the boy's help, she attacked the knot 
again. When the handkerchief came off she flung it from 
her as if in truth it were a viperine. 

" It was contamination," she flashed, for his benefit. 

But Francis, still engaged in hardening his heart against 
her, shook his head slowly and said : 

" It doesn't save you, Leoncia. I've left my mark on 
you that never will come off." 

He pointed to the excoriations he had made on her knee 
and laughed. 

" The mark of the beast," she came back, turning to go. 
" I warn you to take yourself off, Mr. Henry Morgan." 

But he stepped in her way. 

" And now we'll talk business, Miss Solano," he said in 
changed tones. " And you will listen. Let your eyes flash 
all they please, but don't interrupt me." He stooped and 
picked up the note he had been engaged in writing. " I was 
jus^ sending that to you by the boy when you screamed. 
Take it. Bead it. It won't bite you. It isn't a viperine." 

Though she refused to receive it, her eyes involuntarily 
scanned the opening line : 

7 am the man whom you mistook for Henry Morgan . . . 

She looked at him with startled eyes that could not com- 



34 HEARTS OF THREE 

prehend much but which were guessing many vague things. 

" On my honor," he said gravely. 

" You . . . are . . . not . . . Henry?" she gasped. 

" No, I am not. Won't you please take it and read." 

This time she complied, while he gazed with all his eyes 
upon the golden pallor of the sun on her tropic-touched 
blonde face which colored the blood beneath, or which was 
touched by the blood beneath, to the amazingly beautiful 
golden pallor. 

Almost in a dream he discovered himself looking into her 
startled, questioning eyes of velvet brown. 

" And who should have signed this?" she repeated. 

He came to himself and bowed. 

" But the name? your name?" 

" Morgan, Francis Morgan. As I explained there, Henry 
and I are some sort of distant relatives forty-fifth cousins, 
or something like that." 

To his bewilderment, a great doubt suddenly dawned in 
her eyes, and the old familiar anger flashed. 

" Henry," she accused him. " This is a ruse, a devil's 
trick you're trying to play on me. Of course you are 
Henry." 

Francis pointed to his mustache. 
' You've grown that since," she challenged. 

He pulled up his sleeve and showed her his left arm from 
wrist to elbow. But she only looked her incomprehension 
of the meaning of his action. 

' Do you remember the scar?" he asked. 

She nodded. 

4 'Then find it." 

She bent her head in swift vain search, then shook it 
slowly as she faltered : 

" I . . . I ask your forgiveness. I was terribly mis- 
taken, and when I think of the way I ; . . I've treated 
you ... " 

" That kiss was delightful," he naughtily disclaimed. 

She recollected more immediate passages, glanced down 
at her knee and stifled what he adjudged was a most 
adorable giggle. 

" You say you have a message from Henry," she changed 
the subject abruptly. " And that he is innocent . . . ? 
This is true? Oh, I do want to believe you !" 

" I am morally certain that Henry no more killed your 
uncle than did I " 



HEARTS OF THREE 35 

' Then say no more, at least not now," she interrupted 
joyfully. " First of all I must make amends to you, though 
you must confess that some o*f the things you have done and 
said were abominable. You had no right to kiss me." 

' If you will remember," he contended, " I did it at the 
pistol point. How was I to know but what I would get shot 
if I didn't." 

" Oh, hush, hush," she begged. ' You must go with me 
now to the house. And you can tell me about Henry on the 
way." 

Her eyes chanced upon the handkerchief she had flung so 
contemptuously aside. She ran to it and picked it up. 

Poor, ill-treated kerchief," she crooned to it. * To you 
also must I make amends. I shall myself launder you, 
and . . . Her eyes lifted to Francis as she addressed 

him. " And return it to you, sir, fresh and sweet and all 
wrapped around my heart of gratitude . . . ' 

" And the mark of the beast?" he queried. 
I am so sorry," she confessed penitently. 

" And may I be permitted to rest my shadow upon you?" 

" Do! Do!" she cried gaily. ' There! I am in your 
shadow now. And we must start." 

Francis tossed a peso to the grinning Indian boy, and, in 
high elation, turned and followed her into the tropic growth 
on the path that led up to the white hacienda. 

Seated on the broad piazza of the Solano Hacienda, 
Alvarez Torres saw through the tropic shrubs the couple 
approaching along the winding drive-way. And he saw what 
made him grit his teeth and draw v^-ry erroneous conclu- 
sions. He muttered imprecations to himself- and forgot his 
cigarette. 

What he saw was Leoncia and Francis in such deep and 
excited talk as to be oblivious of everything else. He saw 
Francis grow so urgent of speech and gesture as to cause 
Leoncia to stop abruptly and listen further to his pleading. 
Next and Torres could scarcely believe the evidence of his 
eyes, he saw Francis produce a ring, and Leoncia, with 
averted face, extend her left hand and receive the ring upon 
her third ringer. Engagement finger it was, and Torres 
could have sworn to it. 

What had really occurred was the placing of Henry's 
engagement ring back on Leoncia's hand. And Leoncia, 
she knew not why, had been vaguely averse to receiving it. 



36 HEARTS OF THREE 

Torres tossed the dead cigarette away, twisted his 
mustache fiercely, as if to relieve his own excitement, and 
advanced to meet them across the piazza. He did not 
return the girl's greeting at the first. Instead, with the 
wrathful face of the Latin, he burst out at Francis : 

One does not expect shame in a murderer, but at least- 
one does expect simple decency." 

Francis smiled whimsically. 

'There it goes again," he said. "Another lunatic in 
this lunatic land. The last time, Leoncia, that I saw this 
gentleman was in New York. He was really anxious to do 
business with me. Now I meet him here and the first thing 
he tells me is that I am an indecent, shameless murderer." 

" Senor Torres, you must apologize," she declared angrily. 
" The house of Solano is not accustomed to having its guests 
insulted." 

" The house of Solano, I then understand, is accustomed 
to having its men murdered by transient adventurers," he 
retorted. ( No sacrifice is too great when it is hi the name 
of hospitality." 

Get off your foot, Senor Torres," Francis advised him 
pleasantly. ' You are standing on it. I know what your 
mistake is. You think I am Henry Morgan. I am Francis 
Morgan, and you and I, not long ago, transacted business 
together in Regan's office in New York. There's my hand. 
Your shaking of it will be sufficient apology under the cir- 
cumstances." 

Torres, overwhelmed for the moment by his mistake, took 
the extended hand and uttered apologies both to Francis 
and Leoncia. 

" And now," she beamed through laughter, clapping her 
hands to call a house-servant, " I must locate Mr. Morgan, 
and go and get some clothes on. And after that, Senor 
Torres, if you will pardon us, we will tell you about Henry." 

While she departed, and while Francis followed away to 
his room on the heels of a young and pretty mestizo woman. 
Torres, his brain resuming its functions, found he was more 
amazed and angry than ever. This, then, was a newcomer 
and stranger to Leoncia whom he had seen putting a ring on 
her engagement finger. He thought quickly and passionately 
for a moment. Leoncia, whom to himself he always named 
the queen of his dreams, had, on an instant's notice, engaged 
herself to a strange Gringo from New York. It was un- 
believable, monstrous. 



HEARTS OF THREE 37 

He clapped his hands, summoned his hired carriage from 
San Antonio, and was speeding down the drive when Francis 
strolled forth to have a talk with him about further details of 
the hiding place of old Morgan's treasure. 

After lunch, when a land-breeze sprang up, which meant 
fair wind and a quick run across Chiriqui Lagoon and along 
the length of it to the Bull and the Calf, Francis, eager to 
bring to Henry the good word that his ring adorned Leoncia's 
finger, resolutely declined her proffered hospitality to remain 
for the night and meet Enrico Solano and his tall sons. 
Francis had a further reason for hasty departure. He could 
not endure the presence of Leoncia and this in no sense 
uncomplimentary to her. She charmed him, drew him, to 
such extent that he dared not endure her charm and draw if 
he were to remain man-faithful to the man in the canvas 
pants even then digging holes in the sands of the Bull. 

So Francis departed, a letter to Henry from Leoncia in 
his pocket. The last moment, ere he departed, was abrupt. 
With a sigh so quickly suppressed that Leoncia wondered 
whether. or not she had imagined it, he tore himself away. 
She gazed after his retreating form down the driveway until 
it was out of sight, then stared at the ring on her finger with 
a vaguely troubled expression. 

From the beach, Francis signaled the Angelique, riding at 
anchor, to send a boat ashore for him. But before it had 
been swung into the water, half a dozen horsemen, revolver- 
belted, rifles across their pommels, rode down the beach 
upon him at a gallop. Two men led. The following four 
were hang-dog half-castes. Of the two leaders, Francis 
recognized Torres. Every rifle came to rest on Francis, and 
he could not but obey the order snarled at him by the 
unknown leader to throw up his hands. And Francis opined 
aloud : 

' To think of it ! Once, only the other day or was it a 
million years ago? I thought auction bridge, at a dollar a 
point, was some excitement. Now, sirs, you on your horses, 
with your weapons threatening the violent introduction of 
foreign substances into my poor body, tell me what is doing 
now. Don't I ever get off this beach without gunpowder 
complications? Is it my ears, or merely my mustache, you 
want?" 

' We want you," answered the stranger leader, whose 
mustache bristled as magnetically as his crooked black eyes. 



38 HEARTS OF THEEE 

" And in the name of original sin and of all lovely lizards, 
who might you be?" 

" He is the honorable Senor Mariano Vercara e Hijos, 
Jefe Politico of San Antonio," Torres replied. 

" Good night," Francis laughed, remembering the man's 
description as given to him by Henry. " I suppose you 
think I've broken some harbor rule or sanitary regulation by 
anchoring here. But you must settle such things with my 
captain, Captain Trefethen, a very estimable gentleman. I 
am only the charterer of the schooner just a passenger. 
You will find Captain Trefethen right up in maritime law 
and custom." 

" You are wanted for the murder of Alfaro Solano," was 
Torres' answer. ' You didn't fool me, Henry Morgan, with 
your talk up at the hacienda that you were some one else. I 
know that some one else. His name is Francis Morgan, 
and I do not hesitate to add that he is not a murderer, but 
a gentleman." 

' Ye gods and little fishes!" Francis exclaimed. " And 
yet you ahook hands with me, Senor Torres." 

" I was fooled," Torres admitted sadly. " But only for 
a moment. Will you come peaceably?" 

" As if " Francis shrugged his shoulders eloquently 

at the six rifles. '* I suppose you'll give me a pronto trial 
and hang me at daybreak." 

''Justice is swift in Panama," the Jefe Politico replied, 
his English queerly accented but understandable. " But 
not so quick as that. We will not hang you at daybreak. 
Ten o'clock in the morning is more comfortable all around, 
don't you tiiink?" 

" Oh, by all means," Francis retorted. " Make it eleven, 
or twelve noon I won't mind." 

' You will kindly come with us, Senor, ' ' Mariano Vercara 
e Hijos, said, the suavity of his diction not masking the iron 
of its intention. " Juan! Ignacio!" he ordered in Spanish. 
" Dismount! Take his weapons. No, it will not be neces- 
sary to tie his hands. Put him on the horse behind 
Gregorio. ' ' 

Francis, in a venerably whitewashed adobe cell with walls 
five feet thick, its earth floor carpeted with the forms of half 
a dozen sleeping peon prisoners, listened to a dim hammering 
not very distant, remembered the trial from which he had 
just emerged, and whistled long and low. The hour was 



HEARTS OF THEEE 39 

half -past eight in the evening. The trial had begun at eight. 
The hammering was the hammering together of the scaffold 
beams, from which place of eminence he was scheduled at 
ten next morning to swing off into space supported from the 
ground by a rope around his neck. The trial had lasted 
half an hour by his watch. Twenty minutes would have 
covered it had Leoncia not burst in and prolonged it by the 
ten minutes courteously accorded her as the great lady of 
the Solano family. 

" The Jefe was right," Francis acknowledged to himself 
in a matter of soliloquy. " Panama justice does move 
swiftly." 

The very possession of the letter given him by Leoncia 
and addressed to Henry Morgan had damned him. The rest 
had been easy. Half a dozen witnesses had testified to the 
murder and identified him as the murderer. The Jefe 
Politico himself had so testified. The one cheerful note had 
been the eruption on the scene of Leoncia, chaperoned by a 
palsied old aunt of the Solano family. That had been sweet 
the fight the beautiful girl had put up for his life, despite 
the fact that it was foredoomed to futility. 

When she had made Francis roll up the sleeve and expose 
his left forearm, he had seen the Jefe Politico shrug his 
shoulders contemptuously. And he had seen Leoncia fling 
a passion of Spanish words, too quick for him to follow, at 
Torres. And he had seen and heard the gesticulation and 
the roar of the mob-filled court-room as Torres had taken the 
stand. 

But what he had not seen was the whispered colloquy 
between Torres and the Jefe, as the former was in the thick 
of forcing his way through the press to the witness box. He 
no more saw this particular side-play than did he know that 
Torres was in the pay of Eegan to keep him away from New 
York as long as possible, and as long as ever if possible, nor 
than did he know that Torres himself, in love with Leoncia, 
was consumed with a jealousy that knew no limit to its ire. 

All of which had blinded Francis to the play under the 
interrogation of Torres by Leoncia, which had compelled 
Torres to acknowledge that he had never seen a scar on 
Francis Morgan's left forearm. While Leoncia had looked at 
the little old judge in triumph, the Jefe Politico had advanced 
and demanded of Torres in stentorian tones : 

" Can you swear that you ever saw a scar on Henry 
Morgan's arm?" 



40 HEARTS OF THREE 

Torres had been baffled and embarrassed, had looked 
bewilderment to the judge and pleadingness to Leoncia, and, 
in the end, without speech, shaken his head that he could 
not so swear. 

The roar of triumph had gone up from the crowd of raga- 
muffins. The judge had pronounced sentence, the roar had 
doubled on itself, and Francis had been hustled out and to 
his cell, not entirely unresistingly, by the gendarmes and 
the Comisario, all apparently solicitous of saving him from 
the mob that was unwilling to wait till ten next morning for 
his death. 

" That poor dub, Torres, who fell down on the scar on 
Henry ! ' ' Francis was meditating sympathetically, when the 
bolts of his cell door shot back and he arose to greet Leoncia. 

But she declined to greet him for the moment, as she 
flared at the Comisario in rapid-fire Spanish, with gestures of 
command to which he yielded when he ordered the jailer to 
remove the peons to other cells, and himself, with a nervous 
and apologetic bowing, went out and closed the door. 

And then Leoncia broke down, sobbing on his shoulder, in 
his arms : " It is a cursed country, a cursed country. There 
is no fair play." 

And as Francis held her pliant form, meltingly exquisite 
in its maddeningness of woman, he remembered Henry, in 
his canvas pants, bare-footed, un^er his floppy sombrero, 
digging holes in the sand of the Bull. 

He tried to draw away from the armful of deliciousness, 
and only half succeeded. Still, at such slight removal of 
distance, he essayed the intellectual part, rather than the 
emotional part he desired all too strongly to act. 

" And now I know at last what a frame-up is," he assured 
her, farthest from the promptings of his heart. " If these 
Latins of your country thought more coolly instead of acting 
so passionately, they might be building railroads and devel- 
oping .their country. That trial was a straight passionate 
frame-up. They just knew I was guilty and were so eager 
to punish me that they wouldn't even bother for mere 
evidence or establishment of identity. Why delay? They 
Imew Henry Morgan had knifed Alfaro. They knew I was 
Henry Morgan. When one knows, why bother to find out?" 

Deaf to his words, sobbing and struggling to cling closer 
while he spoke, the moment he had finished she was deep 
again in his arms, against him, to him, her lips raised to 
his; and, ere he was aware, his own lips to hers. 



HEARTS OF THREE 41 

" I love you, I love you," she whispered brokenly. 

" No, no," he denied what he most desired. " Henry 
and I are too alike. It is Henry you love, and I am not 
Henry." 

She tore herself away from her own clinging, drew Henry's 
ring from her finger, and threw it on the floor. Francis was 
so beyond himself that he knew not what was going to 
happen the next moment, and was only saved from whatever 
it might be by the entrance of the Comisario, watch in hand, 
with averted face striving to see naught else than the 
moments registered by the second-hand on the dial. 

She stiffened herself proudly, and all but broke down 
again as Francis slipped Henry's ring back on her finger and 
kissed her hand in farewell. Just ere she passed out the 
door she turned and with a whispered movement of the lips 
that was devoid of sound told him: " I love you." 

Promptly as the stroke of the clock, at ten o'clock Francis 
was led out into the jail patio where stood the gallows. All 
San Antonio was joyously and shoutingly present,' including 
much of the neighboring population and Leoncia, Enrico 
Solano, and his five tall sons. Enrico and his sons fumed 
and strutted, but the Jefe Politico, backed by the Comisario 
and his gendarmes, was adamant. In vain, as Francis was 
forced to the foot of the scaffold, did Leoncia strive to get 
to him and did her men strive to persuade her to leave the 
patio. In vain, also, did her father and brothers protest 
that Francis was not the man. The Jefe Politico smiled 
contemptuously and ordered the execution to proceed. 

On top the scaffold, standing on the trap, Francis declined 
the ministrations of the priest, telling him in Spanish that 
no innocent man being hanged needed intercessions with 
the next world, but that the men who were doing the 
hanging were in need of just such intercessions. 

They had tied Francis' legs, and were in the act of tying 
his arms, with the men who held the noose and the black 
cap hovering near to put them on him, when the voice of a 
singer was heard approaching from without; and the song 
he sang was : 

" Back to back against the mainmast, 
Held at bay the entire crew . . . ' 

Leoncia, almost fainting, recovered at the sound of the 



42 HEAETS OF THREE 

voice, and cried out with sharp delight as she descried Henry 
Morgan entering, thrusting aside the guards at the gate who 
tried to bar his way. 

At sight of him the only one present who suffered chagrin 
was Torres, which passed unnoticed in the excitement. The 
populace was in accord with the Jefe, who shrugged his 
shoulders and announced that one man was as good as 
another so long as the hanging went on. And here arose hot 
contention from the Solano men that Henry was likewise 
innocent of the murder of Alfaro. But it was Francis, from 
the scaffold, while his arms and legs were being untied, who 
shouted through the tumult: 

:< You tried me! You have not tried him! You cannot 
hang a man without trial ! He must have his trial ! ' ' 

And when Francis had descended from the scaffold and 
was shaking Henry's hand in both his own, the Comisario, 
with the Jefe at his back, duly arrested Henry Morgan for 
the murder of Alfaro Solano. 



CHAPTER IV 

' WE must work quickly that is the one thing sure," 
Francis said to the little conclave of Solanos on the piazza 
of the Solano hacienda. 

' ' One thing sure ! ' ' Leoncia cried out scornfully ceasing 
from her anguished pacing up and down. " The one thing 
sure is that we must save him." 

As she spoke, she shook a passionate finger under Francis' 
nose to emphasize her point. Not content, she shook her 
finger with equal emphasis under the noses of all and sundry 
of her father and brothers. 

" Quick !" she flamed on. " Of course we must be quick. 
It is that, or . . . ' Her voice trailed off into the un- 
voiceable horror of what would happen to Henry if they were 
not quick. 

"All Gringos look alike to the Jefe," Francis nodded 
sympathetically. She was splendidly beautiful and won- 
derful, he thought. " He certainly runs all San Antonio, 
and short shrift is his motto. He'll give Henry no more 
time than he gave us. We must get him out to-night." 

" Now listen," Leoncia began again. " We Solanos can- 
not permit this . . . this execution. Our pride . . . our 
honor. We cannot permit it. Speak ! any of you. Father 
you. Suggest something . . . ' 

And while the discussion went on, Francis, for the time 
being silent, wrestled deep in the throes of sadness. 
Leoncia 's fervor was magnificent, but it was for another man 
and it did not precisely exhilarate him. Strong upon him 
was the memory of the jail patio after he had been released 
and Henry had been arrested. He could still see, with the 
same stab at the heart, Leoncia in Henry's arms, Henry 
seeking her hand to ascertain if his ring was on it, and the 
long kiss of the embrace that followed. 

Ah, well, he sighed to himself, he had 'done his best. 
After Henrv had been led away, had he not told Leoncia, 

43 



44 HEAETS OF THREE 

quite deliberately and coldly, that Henry was her man and 
lover, and the wisest of choices for the daughter of the 
Solanos ? 

But the memory of it did not make him a bit happy. 
Nor did the rightness of it. Eight it was. That he never 
questioned, and it strengthened him into hardening his heart 
against her. Yet the right, he found in his case, to be the 
sorriest of consolation. 

And yet what else could he expect? It was his misfor- 
tune to have arrived too late in Central America, that was 
all, and to find this flower of woman already annexed by a 
previous comer a man as good as himself, and, his heart 
of fairness prompted, even better. And his heart of fairness 
compelled loyalty to Henry from him to Henry Morgan, of 
the breed and blood ; to Henry Morgan, the wild-fire descend- 
ant of a wild-fire ancestor, in canvas pants, and floppy 
sombrero, with a penchant for the ears of strange young 
men, living on sea biscuit and turtle eggs and digging up 
the Bull and the Calf for old Sir Henry's treasure. 

And while Enrico Solano and his sons talked plans and 
projects on their broad piazza, to which Francis lent only 
half an ear, a house servant came, whispered in Leoncia'' s 
ear, and led her away around the ell of the piazza, wliere 
occurred a scene that would have excited Francis' risibilities 
and wrath. 

Around the ell, Alvarez Torres, in all the medieval 
Spanish splendor of dress of a great haciendado-owner, such 
as still obtains in Latin America, greeted her, bowed low with 
doffed sombrero in hand, and seated her in a rattan settee. 
Her own greeting was sad, but shot through with curiousness, 
as if she hoped he brought some word of hope. 

" The trial is over, Leoncia," he said softly, tenderly, as 
one speaks of the dead. " He is sentenced. To-morrow at 
ten o'clock is the time. It is all very sad, most very sad. 
But . . . ' He shrugged his shoulders. "No, I shall 
not speak harshly of him. He was an honorable man. His 
one fault was his temper. It was too quick, too fiery. It 
led him into a mischance of honor. Never, in a cool moment 
of reasonableness, would he have stabbed Alfaro " 

" He never killed my uncle!" Leoncia cried, raising her 
averted face. 

"And it is regrettable," Torres proceeded gently and 
sadly, avoiding any disagreement. " The judge, the people, 



HEARTS OF THREE 45 

the Jefe Politico, unfortunately, are all united in believing 
that he did. Which is most regrettable. But which is not 
what I came to see you about. I came to offer my service 
in any and all ways you may command. My life, my honor, 
are at your disposal. Speak. I am your slave." 

Dropping suddenly and gracefully on one knee before her, 
he caught her hand from her lap, and would have instantly 
flooded on with his speech, had not his eyes lighted on the 
diamond ring on her engagement finger. He frowned, but 
concealed the frown with bent face until he could drive it 
from his features and begin to speak. 

" I knew you when you were small, Leoncia, so very, 
very charmingly small, and I loved you always. No, listen! 
Please. My heart must speak. Hear me out. I loved 
you always. But when you returned from your convent, 
from schooling abroad, a woman, a grand and noble lady fit 
to rule in the house of the Solanos, I was burnt by your 
beauty. I have been patient. I refrained from speaking. 
But you may have guessed. You surely must have guessed. 
I have been on fire for you ever since. I have been con- 
sumed by the flame of your beauty, by the flame of you 
that is deeper than your beauty." 

He was not to be stopped, as she well knew, and she 
listened patiently, gazing down on his bent head and won- 
dering idly why his hair was so unbecomingly cut, and 
whether it had been last cut in New York or San Antonio. 

' ' Do you know what you have been to me ever since your 
return?" 

She did not reply, nor did she endeavour to withdraw her 
hand, although his was crushing and bruising her flesh 
against Henry Morgan's ring. She forgot to listen, led 
away by a chain of thought that linked far. Not in such 
rhodomontade of speech had Henry Morgan loved and won 
her, was the beginning of the chain. Why did those of 
Spanish blood always voice their emotions so exaggeratedly? 
Henry had been so different. Scarcely had he spoken a 
word. He had acted. Under her glamor, himself glamor- 
ing her, without warning, so certain was he not to surprise 
and frighten her, he had put his arms around her and pressed 
his lips to hers. And hers had been neither too startled nor 
altogether unresponsive. Not until after that first kiss, arms 
still around her, had Henry begun to speak at all. 

And what plan was being broached around the corner of 
the ell by her men and Francis Morgan? her mind strayed 



46 HEARTS OF THREE 

on, deaf to the suitor at her feet. Francis ! Ah she 
almost sighed, and marveled, what of her self -known love for 
Henry, why this stranger Gringo so enamored her heart. 
Was she a wanton? Was it one man? Or another man? 
Or any man ? No ! No ! She was not fickle nor unfaith- 
ful. And yet? . . . Perhaps it was because Francis and 
Henry were so much alike, and her poor stupid loving 
woman's heart failed properly to distinguish between them. 
And yet while it had seemed she would have followed 
Henry anywhere over the world, in any luck or fortune, it 
seemed to her now that she would follow Francis even 
farther. She did love ' Henry, her heart solemnly pro- 
claimed. But also did she love Francis, and almost did 
she divine that Francis loved her the fervor of his lips on 
hers in his prison cell was inerasable; and there was a 
difference in her love for the two men that confuted her 
powers of reason and almost drove her to the shameful 
conclusion that she, the latest and only woman of the house 
of Solano, was a wanton. 

A severe pinch of her flesh against Henry's ring, caused 
by the impassioned grasp of Torres, brought her back to him, 
so that she could hear the spate of his speech pouring on : 

" You have been the delicious thorn in my side, the 
spicked rowel of the spur forever prodding the sweetest and 
most poignant pangs of love into my breast. I have dreamed 
of you . . . and for you. And I have my own name for 
you. Ever the one name I have had for you : the Queen of 
my Dreams. And you will marry me, my Leoncia. We 
will forget this mad Gringo who is as already dead. I shall 
be gentle, kind. I shall love you always. And never shall 
any vision of him arise between us. For myself, I shall not 
permit it. For you ... I shall love you so that it will be 
impossible for the memory of him to arise between us and 
give you one moment's heart-hurt." 

Leoncia debated in a long pause that added fuel to Torres' 
hopes. She felt the need to temporise. If Henry were to 
be saved . . . and had not Torres offered his services? 
Not lightly could she turn him away when a man's life might 
depend upon him. 

" Speak! I am consuming!" Torres urged in a choking 
voice. 

" Hush! Hush!" she said softly. " How can I listen 
to love from a live man, when the man I loved is yet alive?" 

Loved! The past tense of it startled her. Likewise it 



HEARTS OF THKEE 47 

startled Torres, fanning his hopes to fairer flames. Almost 
was she his. She had said loved. She no longer bore love 
for Henry. She had loved him, but no longer. And she, 
a maid and woman of delicacy and sensibility, could not, of 
course, give name to her love for him while the other man 
still lived. It was subtle of her. He prided himself on his 
own subtlety, and he flattered himself that he had inter- 
preted her veiled thought aright. And . . . well, he re- 
solved, he would see to it that the man who was to die at 
ten next morning should have neither reprieve nor rescue. 
The one thing clear, if he were to win Leoncia quickly, was 
that Henry Morgan should die quickly. 

' We will speak of it no more . . . now," he said with 
chivalric gentleness, as he gently pressed her hand, rose to 
his feet, and gazed down on her. 

She returned a soft pressure of thanks with her own hand 
ere she released it and stood up. 

" Come," she said. " We will join the others. They 
are planning now, or trying to find some plan, to save Henry 
Morgan." 

The conversation of the group ebbed away as they joined 
it, as if out of half -suspicion of Torres. 

" Have you hit upon anything yet?" Leoncia asked. 

Old Enrico, straight and slender and graceful as any of his 
sons despite his age, shook his head. 

" I have a plan, if you will pardon me," Torres began, but 
ceased at a warning glance from Alesandro, the eldest son. 

On the walk, below the piazza, had appeared two scare- 
crows of beggar boys. Not more than ten years of age, by 
their size, they seemed much older when judged by the 
shrewdness of their eyes and faces. Each wore a single 
marvelous garment, so that between them it could be said 
they shared a shirt and pants. But such a shirt! And 
such pants ! The latter, man-size, of ancient duck, were 
buttoned around the lad's neck, the waistband reefed with 
knotted twine so as not to slip down over his shoulders. His 
arms were thrust through the holes where the side-pockets 
had been. The legs of the pants had been hacked off with 
a knife to suit his own diminutive length of limb. The tails 
of the man's shirt on the other boy dragged on the ground. 

' Vamos ! ' ' Alesandro shouted fiercely at them to be 
gone. 

But the boy in the pants gravely removed a stone which 
he had been carrying on top of his bare head, exposing a 



48 HEARTS OF THREE 

letter which had been thus carried. Alesandro leaned over, 
took the letter, and with a glance at the inscription passed 
it to Leoncia, while the boys began whining for money. 
Francis, smiling despite himself at the spectacle of them, 
tossed them a few pieces of small silver, whereupon the shirt 
and the pants toddled away down the path. 

The letter was from Henry, and Leoncia scanned it hur- 
riedly. It was not precisely in farewell, for he wrote in the 
tenour of a man who never expected to die save by some 
inconceivable accident. Nevertheless, on the chance of such 
inconceivable thing becoming possible, Henry did manage to 
say good-bye and to include a facetious recommendation to 
Leoncia not to forget Francis, who was well worth remem- 
bering because he was so much like himself, Henry. 

Leoncia's first impulse was to show the letter to the 
others, but the portion about Francis withstrained her. 

" It's from Henry," she said, tucking the note into her 
bosom. " There is nothing of importance. He seems to 
have not the slightest doubt that he will escape somehow." 
' We shall see that he does," Francis declared positively. 

With a grateful smile to him, and with one of interrogation 
to Torres, Leoncia said : 

" You were speaking of a plan, Senor Torres?" 

Torres smiled, twisted his mustache, and struck an atti- 
tude of importance. 

" There is one way, the Gringo, Anglo-Saxon way, and it 
is simple, straight to the point. That is just what it is, 
straight to the point. We will go and take Henry out of 
jail in forthright, brutal and direct Gringo fashion. It is the 
one thing they will not expect. Therefore, it will succeed. 
There are enough unhung rascals on the beach with which, 
to storm the jail. Hire them, pay them well, but only 
partly in advance, and the thing is accomplished." 

Leoncia nodded eager agreement. Old Enrico's eyes 
flashed and his nostrils distended as if _ already sniffing 1 gun- 
powder. The young men were taking fire from his example. 
And all looked to Francis for his opinion or agreement. He 
shook his head slowly, and Leoncia uttered a sharp cry of 
disappointment in him. 

" That way is hopeless," he said. " Why should all of 
you risk your necks in a madcap attempt like that, doomed 
to failure from the start?" As he talked, he strode across 
from Leoncia's side to the railing in such way as to be for a 
moment between Torres and the other men, and at the same 



HEARTS OF THREE 49 

time managed a warning look to Enrico and his sons. " As 
for Henry, it looks as if it were all up with him " 

" You mean you doubt me?" Torres bristled. 

" Heavens, man," Francis protested. 

But Torres dashed on: " You mean that I am forbidden 
by you, a man I have scarcely met, from the councils of the 
Solanos who are my oldest and most honored friends." 

Old Enrico, who had not missed the rising wrath against 
Francis in Leoncia's face, succeeded in conveying a warning 
to her, ere, with a courteous gesture, he hushed Torres and 
began to speak. 

" There are no councils of the Solanos from which you are 
barred, Senor Torres. You are indeed an old friend of the 
family. Your late father and I were comrades, almost 
brothers. But that and you will pardon an old man's 
judgment does not prevent Senor Morgan from being right 
when he says your plan is hopeless. To storm the jail is 
truly madness. Look at the thickness of the walls. They 
could stand a siege of weeks. And yet, and I confess it, 
almost was I tempted when you first broached the idea. 
Now when I was a young man, fighting the Indians in the 
high Cordilleras, there was a very case in point. Come, let 
us all be seated and comfortable, and I will tell you the 
tale ..." 

But Torres, busy with many things, declined to wait, and 
with soothed amicable feelings shook hands all around, 
briefly apologized to Francis, and departed astride his silver- 
saddled and silver-bridled horse for San Antonio. One of 
the things that busied him was the cable correspondence 
maintained between him and Thomas Began's Wall Street 
office. Having secret access to the Panamanian government 
wireless station at San Antonio, he was thus able to relay 
messages to the cable station at Vera Cruz. Not alone was 
his relationship with Began proving lucrative, but it was 
jibing in with his own personal plans concerning Leoncia 
and the Morgans. 

' What have you against Senor Torres, that you should 
reject his plan and anger him?" Leoncia demanded of 
Francis. 

" Nothing," was the answer, " except that we do not 
need him, and that I'm not exactly infatuated with him. 
He is a fool and would spoil any plan. Look at the way he 
fell down on testifying at my trial. Maybe he can't be 
trusted. I don't know. Anyway, what's the good of trust- 



50 HEARTS OF THREE 

ing him when we don't need him? Now his plan is all 
right. We'll go straight to the jail and take Henry out, 
if all you are game for it. And we don't need to trust 
to a mob of unhung rascals and beach-sweepings. If the 
six men of us can't do it, we might as well quit." 

" There must be at least a dozen guards always hanging 
out at the jail," Eicardo, Leoncia's youngest brother, a lad 
of eighteen, objected. 

Leoncia, her eagerness alive again, frowned at him; but 
Francis took his part. 

' Well taken," he agreed. " But we will eliminate the 
guards. ' ' 

' The five-foot walls," said Martinez Solano, twin brother 
to Alvarado. 

" Go through them," Francis answered. 

" But how?" Leoncia cried. 

" That's what I am arriving at. You, Senor Solano, 
have plenty of saddle horses? Good. And you, Alesandro, 
does it chance you could procure me a couple of sticks 
of dynamite from around the plantation? Good, and better 
than good. And you, Leoncia, as the lady of the hacienda, 
should know whether you have in your store-room a plenti- 
ful supply of that three-star rye whiskey? 

" Ah, the plot thickens," he laughed, on receiving her 
assurance. " We've all the properties for a Eider Haggard 
or Eex Beach adventure tale. Now listen. But wait. I 
want to talk to you, Leoncia, about private theatri- 
cals. 



CHAPTER V. 

IT was in the mid-afternoon, and Henry, at his barred 
cell- window, stared out into the street and wondered if 
any sort of breeze would ever begin to blow from off Chiriqui 
Lagoon and cool the stagnant air. The street was dusty 
and filthy filthy, because the only scavengers it had ever 
known since the town was founded centuries before were 
the carrion dogs and obscene buzzards even then prowling 
and hopping about in the debris. Low, white-washed build- 
ings of stone and adobe made the street a furnace. 

The white of it all, and the dust, was almost achingly 
intolerable to the eyes, and Henry would have withdrawn 
his gaze, had not the several ragged mosos, dozing in a 
doorway opposite, suddenly aroused and looked interestedly 
up the street. Henry could not see, but he could hear the 
rattling spokes of some vehicle coming at speed. Next, it 
surged into view, a rattle-trap light wagon drawn by a run- 
away horse. In the seat a gray-headed, gray-bearded 
ancient strove vainly to check the animal. 

Henry smiled and marveled that the rickety wagon could 
hold together, so prodigious were the bumps imparted to it 
by the deep ruts. Every wheel, half-dished and threaten- 
ing to dish, wobbled and revolved out of line with every 
other wheel. And if the wagon held intact, Henry judged", 
it was a miracle that the crazy harness did not fly to pieces. 
When directly opposite the window, the old man made a 
last effort, half -standing up from the seat as he pulled on 
the reins. One was rotten, and broke. As the driver fell 
backward into the seat, his weight on the remaining rein 
caused the horse to swerve sharply to the right. What hap- 
pened then whether a wheel dished, or whether a wheel 
had come off first and dished afterward Henry could not 
determine. The one incontestable thing was that the wagon 
was a wreck. The old man, dragging in the dust and 
stubbornly hanging on to the remaining rein, swung the 



52 HEARTS OF THREE 

horse in a circle until it stopped, facing him and snorting 
at him. 

By the time he gained his feet a crowd of mosos was 
forming about him. These were roughly shouldered right 
and left by the gendarmes who erupted from the jail. Henry 
remained at the window and, for a man with but a few 
hours to live, was an amused spectator and listener to 
what followed. 

Giving his horse to a gendarme to hold, not stopping to 
brush the filth from his person, the old man limped hurriedly 
to the wagon and began an examination of the several pack- 
ing cases, large and small, which composed its load. Of 
one case he was especially solicitous, even trying to lift it 
and seeming to listen as he lifted. 

He straightened up, on being addressed by one of the 
gendarmes, and made voluble reply. 

" Me? Alas senors, I am an old man, and far from home. 
I am Leopoldo Narvaez. It is true, my mother was German, 
may the Saints preserve her rest ; but my father was Bal- 
tazar de Jesus y Cervallos e Narvaez, son of General Nar- 
vaez of martial memory, who fought under the great Bolivar 
himself. And now I am half ruined and far from home. 

Prompted by other questions, interlarded with the cour- 
teous expressions of sympathy with which even the hum- 
blest mo so is over generously supplied, he managed to be 
politefully grateful and to run on with his tale. 

" I have driven from Bocas del Toro. It has taken 
me five days, and business has been poor. My home is in 
Colon, and I wish I were safely there. But even a noble 
Narvaez may be a peddler, and even a peddler must live, 
eh, senors, is it not so? But tell me, is there not a Tomas 
Eomero who dwells in this pleasant city of San Antonio?" 

" There are any God's number of Tomas Komeros who 
dwell everywhere in Panama," laughed Pedro Zurita, the 
assistant jailer. " One would need fuller description." 

" He is the cousin of my second wife," the ancient 
answered hopefully, and seemed bewildered by the roar of 
laughter from the crowd. 

" And a dozen Tomas Komeros live in and about San 
Antonio," the assistant jailer went on, " any one of which 
may be your second wife's cousin, Senor. There is Tomas 
Romero, the drunkard. There is Tomas Romero, the thief. 
There is Tomas Romero but no, he was hanged a month 
back for murder and robbery. There is the rich Tomas 



HEARTS OF THEEE 53 

Romero who owns many cattle on the hills. There is . . ." 

To each suggested one, Leopoldo Narvaez had shaken his 
head dolefully, until the cattle-owner was mentioned. At 
this he had become hopeful and broken in : 

" Pardon me, senor, it must be he, or some such a one 
as he. I shall find him. If my precious stock-in-trade 
can be safely stored, I shall seek him now. It is well my 
misfortune came upon me where it did. I shall be able to 
trust it with you, who are, one can see with half an eye, 
an honest and an honorable man." As he talked, he 
fumbled forth from his pocket two silver pesos and handed 
them to the jailer. " There, I wish you and your men to 
have some pleasure of assisting me." 

Henry grinned to himself as he noted the access of in- 
terest in the old man and of consideration for him, on the 
part of Pedro Zurita and the gendarmes, caused by the 
present of the coins. They shoved the more curious of the 
crowd roughly back from the wrecked wagon and began to 
carry the boxes into the jail. 

" Careful, senors, careful," the old one pleaded, greatly 
anxious, as they took hold of the big box. Handle it 
gently. It is of value, and it is fragile, most fragile." 

While the contents of the wagon were being carried 
into the jail, the old man removed and deposited in the 
wagon all harness from the horse save the bridle. 

Pedro Zurita ordered the harness taken in as well, ex- 
plaining, with a glare at the miserable crowd : " Not a strap 
or buckle would remain the second after our backs were 
turned." 

Using what was left of the wagon for a stepping block, 
and ably assisted by the jailer and his crew, the peddler 
managed to get astride his animal. 

" It is well," he said, and added gratefully: " A thou- 
sand thanks, senors. It has been my good fortune to meet 
with honest men with whom my goods will be safe only 
poor goods, peddler's goods, you understand; but to me, 
everything, my way upon the road. The pleasure has been 
mine to meet you. To-morrow I shall return with my kins- 
man, whom I certainly shall find, and relieve from you 
the burden of safeguarding my inconsiderable property." He 
doffed his hat. " Adios, senors, adiosl" 

He rode away at a careful walk, timid of the animal he 
bestrode which had caused his catastrophe. He halted and 
turned his head at a call from Pedro Zurita. 



54 HEARTS OF THREE 

" Search the graveyard, Senor Narvaez," the jailer ad- 
vised. " Full a hundred Tomas Bomeros lie there." 

" And be vigilant, I beg of you, senor, of the heavy box," 
the peddler called back. 

Henry watched the street grow deserted as the gendarmes 
and the populace fled from, the scorch of the sun. Small 
wonder, he thought to himself, that the old peddler's voice 
had sounded vaguely familiar. It had been because he had 
possessed only half a Spanish tongue to twisf~around the 
language the other half being the German tongue of the 
mother. Even so, he talked like a native, and he would be 
robbed like a native if there was anything of value in the 
heavy box deposited with the jailers, Henry concluded, ere 
dismissing the incident from his mind. 

In the guardroom, a scant fifty feet away from Henry's 
cell, Leopoldo Narvaez was being robbed. It had begun 
by Pedro Zurita making a profound and wistful survey of 
the large box. He lifted one end of it to sample its weight, 
and sniffed like a hound at the crack of it as if his nose 
might give him some message of its contents. 

" Leave it alone, Pedro," one of the gendarmes laughed 
at him. ' You have been paid two pesos to be honest." 

The assistant jailer sighed, walked away and sat down, 
looked back at the box, and sighed again. Conversation 
languished. Continually the eyes of the men roved to the 
box. A greasy pack of cards could not divert them. The 
game languished. The gendarme who had twitted Pedro 
himself went to the box and sniffed. 

"I smell nothing," he announced. "Absolutely in the 
box there is nothing to smell. Now what can it be ? The 
caballero said that it was of value!" 

" Caballero!" sniffed another of the gendarmes. " The 
old man's father was more like to have been peddler of 
rott'en fish on the streets of Colon and his father before him. 
Every lying beggar claims descent from the conquistadores. ' ' 

" And why not, Eafael?" Pedro Zurita retorted. " Are 
we not all AO descended?" 

" Without doubt," Eafael readily agreed. " The con- 
quistadores slew many " 

" And were the ancestors of those that survived," Pedro 
completed for him and aroused a general laugh. " Just the 
same, almost would I give one of these pesos to know what 
is in that box." 



HEARTS OF THREE 55 

'There is Ignacio," Rafael greeted the entrance of a 
turnkey whose heavy eyes tokened he was just out of his 
siesta. " He was not paid to be honest. Come, Ignacio, 
relieve our curiosity by letting us know what is in the box." 

" How should I know?" Ignacio demanded, blinking at 
the object of interest. " Only now have I awakened." 

' You have not been paid to be honest, then?" Eafael 
asked. 

" Merciful Mother of God, who is the man who would 
pay me to be honest?" the turnkey demanded. 

" Then take the hatchet there and open the box," Eafael 
drove his point home. " We may not, for as surely as 
Pedro is to share the two pesos with us, that surely have we 
been paid to be honest. Open the box, Ignacio, or we shall 
perish of our curiosity." 

We will look, we will only look," Pedro muttered ner- 
vously, as the turnkey prized off a board with the blade of 

the hatchet. " Then we will close the box again and Put 

your hand in, Ignacio. What is it you find? . . . eh? 
what does it feel like ? Ah ! " 

After pulling and tugging, Ignacio's hand had reappeared, 
clutching a cardboard cdrton. 

" Remove it carefully, for it must be replaced," the 
jailer cautioned. 

And when the wrappings of paper and tissue paper were 
removed, all eyes focused on a quart bottle of rye whiskey. 

" How excellently is it composed," Pedro murmured in 
tones of awe. " It must be very good that such care be 
taken of it." 

" It is Americano whiskey," sighed a gendarme. " Once, 
only, have I drunk Americano whiskey. It was wonderful. 
Such was the courage of it, that I leaped into the bull-ring 
at Santos and faced a wild bull with my hands. It is 
true, the bull rolled me, but did I not leap into the ring?" 

Pedro took the bottle and prepared to knock its neck off. 
' Hold !" cried Rafael. ' You were paid to be honest." 
By a man who was not himself honest," came the re- 
tort. ' The stuff is contraband. It has never paid duty. 
The old man was in possession of smuggled goods. Let us 
now gratefully and with clear conscience invest ourselves 
in its possession. We will confiscate it. We will destroy 
it." 

Not waiting for the bottle to pass, Ignacio and Rafael un- 
wrapped fresh ones and broke off the necks. 



56 HEARTS OF THREE 

r< Three stars most excellent," Pedro Zurita orated in 
a pause, pointing to the trade mark. " You see, all Gringo 
whiskey is good. One star shows that it is very good; two 
stars that it is excellent; three stars that it is superb, the 
best, and better than beyond that. Ah, I know. The 
Gringos are strong on strong drink. No pulque for them." 

" And four stars?" queried Ignacio, his voice husky from 
the liquor, the moisture glistening in his eyes. 

" Four stars? Friend Ignacio, four stars would be either 
sudden death or translation into paradise." 

In not many minutes, Eafael, his arm around another 
gendarme, was calling him brother and proclaiming that it 
took little to make men happy here below. 

" The old man was a fool, three times a fool, and thrice 
that," volunteered Augustino, a sullen-faced gendarme, who 
for the first time gave tongue to speech. 

' Viva Augustino! " cheered Eafael. " The three stars 
have worked a miracle. Behold! Have they not unlocked 
Augustino's mouth?" 

' ' And thrice times thrice again was the old man a fool ! ' ' 
Augustino bellowed fiercely. " The very drink of the gods 
was his, all his, and he has been five days alone with it 
on the road from Bocas del Toro, and never taken one little 
sip. Such fools as he should be stretched out naked on 
an ant-heap, say I." 

' The old man was a rogue," quoth Pedro. " And when 
he comes back to-morrow for his three stars I shall arrest 
him for a smuggler. It will be a feather in all our caps." 
If we destroy the evidence thus?" queried Augustino, 
knocking off another neck. 

'We will save the evidence thus!" Pedro replied, 
smashing an empty bottle on the stone flags. " Listen, 
comrades. The box was very heavy we are all agreed. 
It fell. The bottles broke. The liquor ran out, and so were 
we made aware of the contraband. The box and the broken 
bottles will be evidence sufficient." 

The uproar grew as the liquor diminished. One gendarme 
quarreled with Ignacio over a forgotten debt of ten centavos. 
Two others sat upon the floor, arms around each other's 
necks, and wept over the miseries of their married lot. 
Augustino, like a very spendthrift of speech, explained his 
philosophy that silence was golden. And Pedro Zurita be- 
came sentimental on brotherhood. 

" Even my prisoners," he maundered. " I love them as 



HEAETS OF THREE 57 

brothers. Life is sad." A gush of tears in his eyes made 
him desist while he took another drink. ' ' My prisoners are 
my very children. My heart bleeds for them. Behold ! I 
weep. Let us share with them. Let them have a mo- 
ment's happiness. Ignacio, dearest brother of my heart. 
Do me a favor. See, I weep on your hand. Carry a bottle 
of this elixir to the Gringo Morgan. Tell him my sorrow 
that he must hang to-morrow. Give him my love and bid 
him drink and be happy to-day." 

And as Ignacio passed out on the errand, the gendarme 
who had once leapt into the bull-ring at Santos, began 
roaring : 

" I want a bull ! I want a bull!" 

" He wants it, dear soul, that he may put his arms 
around it and love it," Pedro Zurita explained, with a fresh 
access of weeping. " I, too, love bulls. I love all things. 
I love even mosquitoes. All the world is love. That is the 
secret of the world. I should like to have a lion to play 
with . . ." 

The unmistakable air of " Back to Back Against the 
Mainmast " being whistled openly in the street, caught 
Henry's attention, and he was crossing his big cell to the 
window when the grating of a key in the door made him 
lie down quickly on the floor and feign sleep. Ignacio stag- 
gered drunkenly in, bottle in hand, which he gravely pre- 
sented to Henry. 

" With the high compliments of our good jailer, Pedro 
Zurita," he mumbled. " He says to drink and forget that 
he must stretch your neck to-morrow." 

" My high compliments to Senor Pedro Zurita, and tell 
him from me to go to hell along with his whiskey," Henry 
replied. 

The turnkey straightened up and ceased swaying, as if 
suddenly become sober. 

1 Very well, senor," he said, then passed out and locked 
the door. 

In a rush Henry was at the window just in time to en- 
counter Francis face to face and thrusting a revolver to him 
through the bars. 

" Greetings, camarada," Francis said. " We'll have you 
out of here in a jiffy." He held up two sticks of dynamite, 
with fuse and caps complete. " I have brought this pretty 
crowbar to pry you out. Stand well back in your cell, 



58 HEARTS OF THREE 

because real pronto there's going to be a hole in this wall that 
we could sail the Angelique through. And the Ang clique is 
right off the beach waiting for you. Now, stand back. I'm 
going to touch her off. It's a short fuse." 

Hardly had Henry backed into a rear corner of his cell, 

when the door was clumsily unlocked and opened to a babel 

of cries and imprecations, chief est among which he could 

hear the ancient and invariable war-cry of Latin-America, 

' Kill the Gringo!" 

Also, he could hear Rafael and Pedro, as they entered, 
babbling, the one: " He is the enemy of brotherly love "; 
and the other, " He said I was to go to hell is not that 
what he said, Ignacio?" 

In their hands they carried rifles, and behind them urged 
the drunken rabble, variously armed, from cutlasses and 
horse-pistols to hatchets and bottles. At sight of Henry's 
revolver, they halted, and Pedro, fingering his rifle un- 
steadily, maundered solemnly : 

" Senor Morgan, you are about to take up your rightful 
abode in hell." 

But Ignacio did not wait. He fired wildly and widely 
from his hip, missing Henry by half the width of the cell 
and going down the next moment under the impact of 
Henry's bullet. The rest retreated precipitately into the 
jail corridor, where, themselves unseen, they began dis- 
charging their weapons into the room. 

Thanking his fortunate stars for the thickness of the walls, 
and hoping no ricochet would get him, Henry sheltered in a 
protecting angle and waited for the explosion. 

It came. The window and the wall beneath it became 
all one aperture. Struck on the head by a flying fragment, 
Henry sank down dizzily, and, as the dust of the mortar and 
the powder cleared, with wavering eyes he saw Francis 
apparently swim through the hole. By the time he had 
been dragged out through the hole, Henry was himself again. 
He could see Enrico Solano and Eicardo, his youngest born, 
rifles in hand, holding back the crowd forming up the street, 
while the twins, Alvarado and Martinez, similarly held back 
the crowd forming down the street. 

But the populace was merely curious, having its lives to 
lose and nothing to gain if it attempted to block the way of 
such masterful men as these who blew up walls and stormed 
jails in open day. And it gave back respectfully before the 
compact group as it marched down the street. 



HEARTS OF THREE 59 

' The horses are waiting up the next alley," Francis told 
Henry, as they gripped hands. " And Leoncia is waiting 
with them. Fifteen minutes' gallop will take us to the 
beach, where the boat is waiting." 

" Say, that was some song I taught you," Henry grinned. 
" It sounded like the very best little bit of all right when I 
heard you whistling it. The dogs were so previous they 
couldn't wait till to-morrow to hang me. They got full of 
whiskey and decided to finish me off right away. Funny 
thing that whiskey. An old caballero turned peddler 
wrecked a wagon-load of it right in front of the jail " 

" For even a noble Narvaez, son of Baltazar de Jesus y 
Cervallos e Narvaez, son of General Narvaez of martial 
memory, may be a peddler, and even a peddler must live, 
eh, senors, is it not so?" Francis mimicked. 

Henry looked his gleeful recognition, and added soberly: 

" Francis, I'm glad for one thing, most damn glad ..." 

" Which is?" Francis queried in the pause, just as they 
swung around the corner to the horses. 

" That I didn't cut off your ears that day on the Calf when 
I had you down and you insisted." 



CHAPTEB VI 

MARIANO VERCARA E HIJOS, Jefe Politico of San Antonio, 
leaned back in his chair in the courtroom and with a quiet 
smile of satisfaction proceeded to roll a cigarette. The case 
had gone through as prearranged. He had kept the little old 
judge away from his mescal all day, and had been rewarded 
by having the judge try the case and give judgment accord- 
ing to program. He had not made a slip. The six peons, 
fined heavily, were ordered back to the plantation at Santos. 
The working out of the fines was added to the time of their 
contract slavery. And the Jefe was two hundred dollars 
good American gold richer for the transaction. Those 
Gringos at Santos, he smiled to himself, were men to tie to. 
True, they were developing the country with their henequen 
plantation. But, better than that, they possessed money 
in untold quantity and paid well for such little services as he 
might be able to render. 

His smile was even broader as he greeted Alvarez Torres. 

" Listen," said the latter, whispering low in his ear. 
" We can get both these devils of Morgans. The Henry 
pig hangs to-morrow. There is no reason that the Francis 
pig should not go* out to-day." 

The Jefe remained silent, questioning with a lift of his 
eyebrows. 

" I have advised him to storm the jail. The Solanos 
have listened to his lies and are with him. They will surely 
attempt to do it this evening. They could not do it sooner. 
It is for you to be ready for the event, and to see to it that 
Francis Morgan is especially shot and killed in the fight." 

" For what and for why?" the Jefe temporised. " It is 
Henry I want to see out of the way. Let the Francis one 
go back to his beloved New York." 

" He must go out to-day, and for reasons you will appre- 
ciate. As you know, from reading my telegrams through 
the government wireless " 

60 



HEARTS OF THREE 61 

" Which was our agreement for my getting you your' 
permission to use the government station," the Jefe 
reminded. 

" And of which I do not complain," Torres assured him. 
" But as I was saying, you know my relations with the 
New York Regan are confidential and important." He 
touched his hand to his breast pocket. "I have just 
received another wire. It is imperative that the Francis 
pig be kept away from New York for a month if forever, 
and I do not misunderstand Senor Began, so much the 
better. In so far as I succeed in this, will you fare well." 

" But you have not told me how much you have received, 
nor how much you will receive," the Jefe probed. 

" It is a private agreement, and it is not so much as you 
may fancy. He is a hard man, this Senor Regan, a hard 
man. Yet will I divide fairly with you out of the success 
of our venture." 

The Jefe nodded acquiescence, then said : 

" Will it be as much as a thousand gold you will get?" 

"I think so. Surely the pig of an Irish stock-gambler 
could pay me no less a sum, and five hundred is yours if pig 
Francis leaves his bones in San Antonio." 

' Will it be as much as a hundred thousand gold?" was 
the Jefe's next query. 

Torres laughed as if at a joke. 

" It must be more than a thousand," the other persisted. 

" And he may be generous," Torres responded. , " He 
may even give me five hundred over the thousand, half of 
which, naturally, as I have said, will be yours as well." 

" I shall go from here immediately to the jail," the Jefe 
announced. ' You may trust me, Se,nor Torres, as I trust 
you. Come. We will go at once, now, you and I, and you 
may see for yourself the preparation I shall make for this 
Francis Morgan's reception. I have not yet lost my cun- 
ning with a rifle. And, as well, I shall tell off three of the 
gendarmes to fire only at him. So this Gringo dog would 
storm our jail, eh? Come. We will depart at once." 

He stood up, tossing his cigarette away with a show of 
determined energy. But, half way across the room, a ragged 
boy, panting and sweating, plucked his sleeve and whined : 

" I have information. You will pay me for it, most high 
Senor? I have run all the way." 

" I'll have you sent to San Juan for the buzzards to peck 



62 HEARTS OF THREE 

your carcass for the worthless carrion that you are," was the 
reply. 

The boy quailed at the threat, then summoned courage 
from his emptiness of belly and meagerness of living and 
from his desire for the price of a ticket to the next bull-fight. 
' You will remember I brought you the information, Senor. 
I ran all the way until I am almost dead, as you can behold, 
Senor. I will tell you, but you will remember it was I who 
ran all the way and told you first." 

' Yes, yes, animal, I will remember. But woe to you if 
I remember too well. What is the trifling information? It 
may not be worth a centavo. And if it isn't I'll make you 
sorry the sun ever shone on you. And buzzard-picking of 
you at San Juan will be paradise compared with what I shall 
visit on you." 

" The jail," the boy quavered. " The strange Gringo, 
the one who was to be hanged yesterday, has blown down 
the side of the jail. Merciful Saints! The hole is as big 
as the steeple of the cathedral ! And the other Gringo, the 
one who looks like him, the one who was to hang to-morrow, 
has escaped with him out of the hole. He dragged him out 
of the hole himself. This I saw, myself, with my two eyes, 
and then I ran here to you all the way, and you will 
remember . . . ' 

But the Jefe Politico had alread turned on Torres wither- 



" And if this Senor Eegan be princely generous, he may 
give you and me the munificent sum that was mentioned, 
eh? Five times the sum, or ten times, with this Gringo 
tiger blowing down law and order and our good jail-walls, 
would be nearer the mark." 

" At any rate, the thing must be a false alarm, merely the 
straw that shows which way blows the wind of this Francis 
Morgan's intention," Torres murmured with a sickly smile. 
" Kemember, the suggestion was mine to him to storm the 
jail." 

" In which case you and Senor Began will pay for the 
good jail wall?" the Jefe demanded, then, with a pause, 
added : ' ' Not that I believe it has been accomplished. It is 
not possible. Even a fool Gringo would not dare." 

Bafael, the gendarme, rifle in hand, the blood still oozing 
down his face from a scalp-wound, came through the court- 
room door and shouldered aside the curious ones who had 
begun to cluster around Torres and the Jefe. 



HEARTS OF THREE 63 

" \Ve are devastated," were Rafael's first words. " The 
jail is 'most destroyed. Dynamite ! A hundred pounds of 
it : A thousand ! We came bravely to save the jail. But 
it exploded the thousand pounds of dynamite. I fell un- 
conscious, rifle in hand. When sense came back to me, I 
looked about. All others, the brave Pedro, the brave 
Ignacio, the brave Augustino all, all, lay around me dead !" 
Almost could he have added, "drunk"; but, his Latin- 
American nature so compounded, he sincerely stated the 
catastrophe as it most valiantly and tragically presented 
itself to his imagination. " They lay dead. They may not 
be dead, but merely stunned. I crawled. The cell of the , 
Gringo Morgan was empty. There was a huge and mon- 
strous hole in the wall. I crawled through the hole into 
the street. There was a great crowd. But the Gringo 
Morgan was gone. I talked with a moso who had seen and 
who knew. They had horses waiting. They rode toward 
the beach. There is a schooner that is not anchored. It 
sails back and forth waiting for them. The Francis Morgan 
rides with a sack of gold on his saddle. The moso saw it. 
It is a large sack.' r 

" And the hole?" the Jefe demanded. " The hole in the 
wall?" 

" Is larger than the sack, much larger," was Rafael's 
reply. " But the sack is large. So the moso said. And 
he rides with it on his saddle." 

"My jail!" the Jefe cried. He slipped a dagger from 
inside his coat under the left arm-pit and held it aloft by the 
blade so that the hilt showed as a true cross on which a finely 
modeled 'Christ hung crucified. " I swear by all the Saints 
the vengeance I shall have. My jail! Our justice! Our 

law! Horses! Horses! Gendarme, horses!" He 

whirled about upon Torres as if the latter Bad spoken, 
shouting : "To hell with Senor Regan ! I am after my 
own ! I have been defied ! My jail is desolated ! My law 
our law, good friends has been mocked. Horses! 
Horses ! Commandeer them on the streets. Haste ! 
Haste !" 

Captain Trefethen, owner of the Angelique, son of a Maya 
Indian mother and a Jamaica negro father, paced the narrow 
after-deck of his schooner, stared shoreward toward San 
Antonio, where he could make out his crowded long-boat 
returning, and meditated flight from his mad American 



64 HEAETS OF THREE 

charterer. At the same time he meditated remaining in 
order to break his charter and give a new one at three times 
the price ; for he was strangely torn by his conflicting bloods. 
The negro portion counseled prudence and observance of 
Panamanian law. The Indian portion was urgent to unlaw- 
fulness and the promise of conflict. 

It was the Indian mother who decided the issue and made 
him draw his jib, ease his mainsheet, and begin to reach 
in-shore the quicker to pick up the oncoming boat. When 
he made out the rifles carried by the Solanos and the 
Morgans, almost he put up his helm to run for it and leave 
them. When he made out a woman in the boat's stern- 
sheets, romance and thrift whispered in him to hang on and 
take the boat on board. For he knew wherever woman 
entered into the transactions of men that peril and pelf as 
well entered hand in hand. 

And aboard came the woman, the peril and the pelf 
Leoncia, the rifles, and a sack of money all in a scramble; 
for, the wind being light, the captain had not bothered to 
stop way on the schooner. 

" Glad to welcome you on board, sir," Captain Trefethen 
greeted Francis with a white slash of teeth between his 
smiling lips. " But who is this man?" He nodded his 
head to indicate Henry. 

" A friend, captain, a guest of mine, in fact, a kinsman." 

" And who, sir, may I make bold to ask, are those gentle- 
men riding along the beach in fashion so lively?" 

Henry looked quickly at the group of horsemen galloping 
along the sand, unceremoniously took the binoculars from 
the skipper's hand, and gazed through them. 

"It's the Jefe himself in the lead," he reported to 
Leoncia and her menfolk, " with a bunch of gendarmes." 
He uttered a sharp exclamation, stared through the glasses 
intently, then shook his head. " Almost I thought I made 
out our friend Torres." 

' With our enemies!" Leoncia cried incredulously, re- 
membering Torres' proposal of marriage and proffer of ser- 
vice and honor that very day on the hacienda piazza. 

" I must have been mistaken," Francis acknowledged. 
" They are riding so bunched together. But it's the Jefe all 
right, two jumps ahead of the outfit." 

" Who is this Torres duck?" Henry asked harshly. 
" I've never liked his looks from the first, yet he seems 
always welcome under your roof, Leoncia." 



HEAETS OF THREE 65 

" I beg jour parson, sir, most gratifiedly, and with my 
humilious respects," Captain Trefethen interrupted suavely. 
" But I must call your attention to the previous question, 
sir, which is : \vho and what is that cavalcade disporting 
itself with such earnestness along the sand?" 

" They tried to hang me yesterday," Francis laughed. 
" And to-morrow they were going to hang my kinsman there. 
Only we beat them to it. And here we are. Now, Mr. 
Skipper, I call your attention to your head-sheets flapping 
in the wind. You are standing still. How much longer 
do you expect to stick around here?" 

" Mr. Morgan, sir," came the answer, " it is with dumb- 
founded respect that I serve you as the charterer of my 
vessel. Nevertheless, I must inform you that I am a 
British subject. King George is my king, sir, and I owe 
obedience first of all to him and to his laws of maritime 
between all nations, sir. It is lucid to my comprehension 
that you have broken laws ashore, or else the officers ashore 
would not be so assiduously in quest of you, sir. And it is 
also lucid to clarification that it is now your wish to have 
me break the laws of maritime by enabling you to escape. 
So, in honor bound, I must stick around here until this little 
difficulty that you may have appertained ashore is adjusted 
to the satisfaction of all parties concerned, sir, and to the 
satisfaction of my lawful sovereign." 

" Fill away and get out of this, skipper!" Henry broke 
in angrily. 

" Sir, assuring you of your gratification of pardon, it is 
'my unpleasant task to inform you of two things. Neither 
are you my charterer ; nor are you the noble King George to 
whom I give ambitious allegiance." 

4 Well, I'm your charterer, skipper," Francis said pleas- 
antly, for he had learned to humor the man of mixed words 
and parentage. " So just kindly put up your helm and sail 
us out of this Chiriqui Lagoon as fast as God and this failing 
wind will let you." 

1 It is not in the charter, sir, that my Angelique shall 
break the laws of Panama and King George." 

" I'll pay you well," Francis retorted, beginning to lose 
his temper. " Get busy." 

' You will then recharter, sir, at three times the present 
charter?" 

Francis nodded shortly. 



66 HEARTS OF THEEE 

" Then wait, sir, I entreat. I must procure pen and 
paper from the cabin and make out the document." 

" Oh, Lord," Francis groaned. " Square away and get a 
move on first. We can make out the paper just as easily 
while we are running as standing still. Look ! They are 
beginning to fire." 

The half-breed captain heard the report, and, searching 
his spread canvas, discovered the hole of the bullet high up 
near the peak of the mainsail. 

' Very well, sir," he conceded. " You are a gentleman 
and an honorable man. I trust you to affix your signature 

to the document at your early convenience Hey, you 

nigger ! Put up your wheel ! Hard up ! Jump, you black 
rascals, and slack away mainsheetf Take a hand there, 
you, Percival, on the boom-tackle!" 

All obeyed, as did Percival, a grinning shambling Kingston 
negro who was as black as his name was white, and as did 
another, addressed more respectfully as Juan, who was more 
Spanish and Indian than negro, as his light yellow skin 
attested, and whose fingers, slacking the foresheet, were as 
slim and delicate as a girl's. 

" Knock the nigger on the head if he keeps up this 
freshness," Henry growled in an undertone to Francis. 
" For two cents I'll do it right now." 

But Francis shook his head. 

" He's all right, but he's a Jamaica nigger, and you know 
what they are. And he's Indian as well. We might as 
well humor him, since it's the nature of the beast. He 
means all right, but he wants the money, he's risking his 
schooner against confiscation, and he's afflicted with 
vocabularitis. He just must get those long words out of his 
system or else bust." 

Here Enrico Solano, with quivering nostrils and fingers 
restless on his rifle as with half an eye he kept track of the 
wild shots being fired from the beach, approached Henry and 
held out his hand. 

" I have been guilty of a grave mistake, Senor Morgan," 
he said. " In the first hurt of my affliction at the death of 
my beloved brother, Alfaro, I was guilty of thinking you 
guilty of his murder." Here old Enrico's eyes flashed with 
anger consuming but unconsumable. " For murder it was, 
dastardly and cowardly, a thrust in the dark in the back. I 
should have known better. But I was overwhelmed, and 
the evidence was all against you. I did not take pause of 



HEARTS OF THREE 67 

thought to consider that my dearly beloved and only 
daughter was betrothed to you; to remember that all I had 
known of you was straightness and man-likeness and courage 
such as never stabs from behind the shield of the dark. I 
regret. I am sorry. And I am proud once again to welcome 
you into my family as the husband-to-be of my Leoncia." 

And while this whole-hearted restoration of Henry Morgan 
into the Solano family went on, Leoncia was irritated 
because her father, in Latin- American fashion, must use so 
many fine words and phrases, when a single phrase, a hand- 
grip, and a square look in the eyes were all that was called 
for and was certainly all that either Henry or Francis would 
have vouchsafed had the situation been reversed. Why, 
why, she asked of herself, must her Spanish stock, in such 
extravagance of diction, seem to emulate the similar extra- 
vagance of the Jamaica negro? 

While this reiteration of the betrothal of Henry and 
Leoncia was taking place, Francis, striving to appear unin- 
terested, could not help taking note of the pale-yellow sailor 
called Juan, conferring for'ard with others of the crew, 
shrugging his shoulders significantly, gesticulating passion- 
ately with his hands. 



CHAPTER VII 

" AND now we've lost both the Gringo pigs," Alvarez Torres 
lamented on the beach as, with a slight freshening of the 
breeze and with booms winged out to port and starboard, the 
Ang clique passed out of range of their rifles. 

" Almost would I give three bells to the cathedral," 
Mariano Vercara e Hijos proclaimed, " to have them within 
a hundred yards of this rifle. And if I had will of all Gringos 
they would depart so fast that the devil in hell would be 
compelled to study English." 

Alvarez Torres beat the saddle pommel with his hand in 
sheer impotence of rage and disappointment. 

" The Queen of my Dreams !" he almost wept. " She is 
gone and away, of! with the two Morgans. I saw her climb 
up the side of the schooner. And there is the New York 
Regan. Once out of Chiriqui Lagoon, the schooner may 
sail directly to New York. And the Francis pig will not have 
been delayed a month, and the Senor Regan will remit no 
money." 

" They will not get out of Chiriqui Lagoon," the Jefe said 
solemnly. " I am no animal without reason. I am a man. 
I know they will not get out. Have I not sworn eternal 
vengeance? The sun is setting, and the promise is for a 
night of little wind. The sky tells it to one with half an eye. 
Behold those trailing wisps of clouds. What wind may be, 
and little enough of that, will come from the north-east. It 
will be a head beat to the Chorrera Passage. They will not 
attempt it. That nigger captain knows the lagoon like a 
book. He will try to make the long tack and go out past 
Bocas del Toro, or through the Cartago Passage. Even so, 
we will outwit him. I have brains, reason. Reason. 
Listen. It is a long ride. We will make it straight down 
the coast to Las Palmas. Captain Rosaro is there with the 
Dolores " 



HEARTS OF THREE 69 



" The second-hand old tugboat? that cannot get out of 
her own way?" Torres queried. 

" But this night of calm and morrow of calm she will 
capture the Angelique," the Jefe replied. " On, comrades! 
We will ride ! Captain Rosaro is my friend. Any favor is 
but mine to ask." 

At daylight, the worn-out men, on beaten horses, 
straggled through the decaying village of Las Palmas and 
down to the decaying pier, where a very decayed-looking 
tugboat, sadly in need of paint, welcomed their eyes. Smoke 
rising from the stack advertised that steam was up, and the 
Jefe was wearily elated. 

" A happy morning, Senor Capitan Rosaro, and well met," 
he greeted the hard-bitten Spanish skipper, who was reclined 
on a coil of rope and who sipped black coffee from a mug 
that rattled against his teeth. 

;< It w^ould be a happier morning if the cursed fever had 
not laid its chill upon me," Captain Rosaro grunted sourly, 
"the hand that held the mug, the arm, and all his body 
shivering so violently as to spill the hot liquid down his chin 
and into the black-and-gray thatch of hair that covered his 
half-exposed chest. ' Take that, you animal of hell!" he 
cried, flinging mug and contents at a splinter of a half-breed 
boy, evidently his servant, who had been unable to repress 
his glee. 

But the sun will rise and the fever will work its will 
and shortly depart," said the Jefe, politely ignoring the 
display of spleen. " And you are finished here, and you are 
bound for Bocas del Toro, and we shall go with you, all of 
us, on a rare adventure. We will pick up the schooner 
Angelique, calm-bound all last night in the lagoon, and I shall 
make many arrests, and all Panama will so ring with your 
courage and ability, Capitan, that you will forget that the 
fever ever whispered in you." 

' How much?" Capitan Rosaro demanded bluntly. 

Much?" the Jefe countered in surprise. " This is an 
affair of government, good friend. And it is right on your 
way to Bocas del Toro. It will not cost you an extra 
shovelful of coal." 

"Muchacho! More coffee!" the tug-skipper roared at 
the boy. 

A pause fell, wherein Torres and the Jefe and all the 
draggled following yearned for the piping hot coffee brought 
by the boy. Captain Rosaro played the rim of the mug 



70 HEARTS OF THREE 

against his teeth like a rattling of castanets, but managed to 
sip without spilling and so to burn his mouth. 

A vacant-faced Swede, in filthy overalls, with a soiled cap 
on which appeared " Engineer," came up from below, 
lighted a pipe, and seemingly went into a trance as he sat on 
the tug's low rail. 

" How much?" Captain Eosaro repeated. 

" Let us get under way, dear friend," said the Jefe. 
*' And then, when the fever-shock has departed, we will 
discuss the matter with reason, being reasonable creatures 
ourselves and not animals." 

" How much?" Captain Eosaro repeated again. " I am 
never an animal. I always am a creature of reason, whether 
the sun is up or not up, or whether this thrice-accursed fever 
is upon me. How much?" 

"Well, let us start, and for how much?" the Jefe 
conceded wearily. 

" Fifty dollars gold," was the prompt answer. 

" You are starting anyway, are you not, Capitan?" Torres 
queried softly. 

" Fifty gold, as I have said." 

The Jefe Politico threw up his hands with a hopeless 
gesture and turned on his heel to depart. 

" Yet you swore eternal vengeance for the crime com- 
mitted, on your jail," Torres reminded him. 

" But not if it costs fifty dollars," the Jefe snapped back, 
out of the corner of his eye watching the shivering captain 
for some sign of relenting. 

" Fifty gold," said the Captain, as he finished draining 
the mug and with shaking fingers strove to roll a cigarette. 
He nodded his head in the direction of the Swede, and 
added, " and five gold extra for my engineer. It is our 
custom." 

Torres stepped closer to the Jefe and whispered : 

" I will pay for the tug myself and charge the Gringo 
Eegan a hundred, and you and I will divide the difference. 
We lose nothing. We shall make. For this Eegan pig 
instructed me well not to mind expense." 

As the sun slipped brazenly above the eastern horizon, 
one gendarme went back into Las Palmas with the jaded 
horses, the rest of the party descended to the deck of the tug, 
the Swede dived down into the engine-room, and Captain 
Eosaro, shaking off his chill in the sun's beneficent rays, 



HEARTS OF THREE 71 

ordered the deck-hands to cast off the lines, and put one of 
them at the wheel in the pilot-house. 

And the same day-dawn found the Ang clique, after a night 
of almost perfect calm, off the mainland from which she had 
failed to get away, although she had made sufficient northing 
to be midway between San Antonio and the passages of 
Bocas del Toro and Cartago. These two passages to the 
open sea still lay twenty-five miles away, and the schooner 
truly slept on the mirror surface of the placid lagoon. Too 
stuffy below for sleep in the steaming tropics, the deck was 
littered with the sleepers. - On top the small house of the 
cabin, in solitary state, lay Leoncia. On the narrow run- 
ways of deck on either side lay her brothers and her father. 
Aft, between the cabin companionway and the wheel, side 
by side, Francis' arm across Henry's shoulder, as if still 
protecting him, were the two Morgans. On one side the 
wheel, sitting, with arms on knees and head on arms, the 
negro-Indian skipper slept, and just as precisely postured, on 
the other side of the wheel, slept the helmsman, who was 
none other than Percival, the black Kingston negro. The 
waist of the schooner was strewn with the bodies of the 
mixed-breed seamen, while for'ard, on the tiny forecastle- 
head, prone, his face buried upon his folded arms, slept the 
lookout. 

Leoncia, in her high place on the cabin-top, awoke first. 
Propping her head on her hand, the elbow resting on a bit of 
the poncho on which she lay, she looked down past one side 
of the hood of the companionway upon the two young men. 
She yearned over them, who were so alike, and knew love 
for both of them, remembered the kisses of Henry on her 
mouth, thrilled till the blush of her own thoughts mantled 
her cheek at memory of the kisses of Francis, and was 
puzzled and amazed that she should have it in her to love 
two men at the one time. As she had already learned of 
herself, she would follow Henry to the end of the world and 
Francis even farther. And she could not understand such 
wantonness of inclination. 

Fleeing from her own thoughts, which frightened her, she 
stretched out her arm and dangled the end of her silken scarf 
to a tickling of Francis' nose, who, after restless movements, 
still in the heaviness of sleep, struck with his hand at what 
he must have thought to be a mosquito or a fly, and hit 
Henry on the chest. So it was Henry who was first awak- 



72 HEARTS OF THEEE 

ened. He sat up with such abruptness as to awaken 
Francis. 

" Good morning, merry kinsman," Francis greeted. 
' Why such violence?" 

" Morning, morning, and the morning's morning, com- 
rade," Henry muttered. " Such was the violence of your 
sleep that it was you who awakened me with a buffet on my 
breast. I thought it was the hangman, for this is the 
morning they planned to kink my neck." He yawned, 
stretched his arms, gazed out over the rail at the sleeping 
sea, and nudged Francis to observance of the sleeping 
skipper and helmsman. 

They looked so bonny, the pair of Morgans, Leoncia 
thought; and at the same time wondered why the English 
word had arisen unsummoned in her mind rather than a 
Spanish equivalent. Was it because her heart went out so 
generously to the two Gringos that she must needs think of 
them in their language instead of her own? 

To escape the perplexity of her thoughts, she dangled the 
scarf again, was discovered, and laughingly confessed that 
it was she who had caused their violence of waking. 

Three hours later, breakfast of coffee and fruit over, she 
found herself at the wheel taking her first lesson of steering 
and of the compass under Francis' tuition. The Any clique, 
under a crisp little breeze which had hauled around well to 
north 'ard, was for the moment heeling it through the water 
at a six -knot clip. Henry, swaying on the weather side of 
the after-deck and searching the sea through the binoculars, 
was striving to be all unconcerned at the lesson, although 
secretly he was mutinous with himself for not having first 
thought of himself introducing her to the binnacle and the 
wheel. Yet he resolutely refrained from looking around or 
from even stealing a corner-of-the-eye glance at the other 
two. 

But Captain Trefethen, with the keen cruelty of Indian 
curiosity and the impudence of a negro subject of King 
George, knew no such delicacy. He stared openly and 
missed nothing of the chemic drawing together of his char- 
terer and the pretty Spanish girl. When they leaned over 
the wheel to look into the binnacle, they leaned toward each 
other and Leoncia's hair touched Francis' cheek. And the 
three of them, themselves and the breed skipper, knew the 
thrill induced by such contact. But the man and woman 
knew immediately what the breed skipper did not know, and 



HEARTS OF THREE 73 

what they knew was embarrassment. Their eyes lifted to 
each other in a flash of mutual startlement, and drooped 
away and down guiltily. Francis talked very fast and loud 
enough for half the schooner to hear, as he explained the 
lubber's point of the compass. But Captain Trefethen 
grinned. 

A rising puff of breeze made Francis put the wheel up. 
His hand to the spoke rested on her hand already upon it. 
Again they thrilled, and again the skipper grinned. 

Leoncia's eyes lifted to Francis', then dropped in confu- 
sion. She slipped her hand out from under and terminated 
the lesson by walking slowly away with a fine assumption of 
casualness, as if the wheel and the binnacle no longer inte- 
rested her. But she had left Francis afire with what he 
knew was lawlessness and treason as he glanced at Henry's 
shoulder and profile and hoped he had not seen what had 
occurred. Leoncia, apparently gazing off across the lagoon 
to the jungle-clad shore, was seeing nothing as she thought- 
fully turned her engagement ring around and around on her 
finger. 

But Henry, turning to tell them of the smudge of smoke 
he had discovered on the horizon, had inadvertently seen. 
And the negro-Indian captain had seen him see. So the 
captain lurched close to him, the cruelty of the Indian 
dictating the impudence of the negro, as he said in a low 
voice : 

" Ah, be not downcast, sir. The senorita is generously 
hearted. There is room for both you gallant gentlemen in 
her heart." 

And the next fraction of a second he learned the inevitable 
and invariable lesson that white men must have their privacy 
of intimate things ; for he lay on his back, the back of his 
head sore from contact with the deck, the front of his head, 
between the eyes, sore from contact with the knuckles of 
Henry Morgan's right hand. 

But the Indian in the skipper was up and raging as he 
sprang to his feet, knife in hand. Juan, the pale-yellow 
mixed breed, leaped to the side of his skipper flourishing 
another kniie, while several of the nearer sailors joined in 
forming a s^mi-circle of attack on Henry, who, with a quick 
step back and an upward slap of his hand, under the pin-rail, 
caused an iron belaying pin to leap out and up into the air. 
Catching it m mid-flight, he wns prepared to defend himself. 



74 HEAETS OF THREE 

Francis, abandoning the wheel and drawing his automatic as 
he sprang, was through the circle and by the side of Henry. 
^What did he say?" Francis demanded of his kinsman. 

:r ril say what I said," the breed skipper threatened, the 
negro side of him dominant as he built for a compromise of 
blackmail. " I said " 

" Hold on, skipper!" Henry interrupted. "I'm sorry I 
struck you. Hold your hush. Put a stopper on your jaw. 
Saw wood. Forget. I'm sorry I struck you. I . . . ' 
Henry Morgan could not help the pause in speech during 
which he swallowed his gorge rising at what he was about, 
to say. And it was because of Leoncia, and because she 
was looking on and listening, that he said it. " I ... I 
apologize, skipper." 

" It is an injury," Captain Trefethsn stated aggrievedly. 
'It is a physical damage. No man can perpetrate a 
physical damage on a subject of King George's, God bless 
him, without furnishing a money requital." 

At this crass statement of the terms cf the blackmail, 
Henry was for forgetting himself and for leaping upon the 
creature. But, restrained by Francis' hand on his shoulder, 
he struggled to self-control, made a noise like hearty laugh- 
ter, dipped into his pocket for two ten-dollar gold-pieces, 
and, as if they stung him, thrust them into Captain Trefe- 
then's palm. 

" Cheap at the price," he could not help muttering aloud. 

" It is a good price," the skipper averred. " Twenty 
gold is always a good price for a sore head. I am yours to 
command, sir. You are a sure-enough gentleman. You 
may hit me any time for the price." 

" Me, sir, me!" the Kingston black named Percival vol- 
unteered with broad and prideless chucklings of subservience. 
" Take a swat at me, sir, for the same price, any time, now. 
And you may swat me as often as you please to pay . . . ' : 

But the episode was destined to terminate at that instant, 
for at that instant a sailor called from amidships : 

" Smoke! A steamer-smoke dead aft!" 

The passage of an hour determined the nature and import 
of the smoke, for the Angelique, falling into a calm, was 
overhauled with such rapidity that the tugboat Dolores, at 
half a mile distance through the binoculars, was seen fairly 
to bristle with armed men crowded on her tiny for'ard deck. 
Both Henry and Francis could recognize the faces of the 
Jefe Politico and of several of the gendarmes. 



HEARTS OF THREE 75 

Old Enrico Solano's nostrils began to dilate, as, with his 
four sons who were aboard, he stationed them aft with him 
and prepared for the battle. Leoncia, divided between 
Henry and Francis, was secretly distracted, though out- 
wardly she joined in laughter at the unkemptness of the 
little tug, and in glee at a flaw of wind that tilted the 
Angelique's port rail flush to the water and foamed her along 
at a nine-knot clip. 

But weather and wind were erratic. The face of the 
lagoon was vexed with squalls and alternate streaks of calm. 
' We cannot escape, sir, I regret to inform you," Captain 
Trefethen informed Francis. " If the wind would hold, sir, 
yes. But the wind baffles and breaks. We are crowded 
down upon the mainland. We are cornered, sir, and as good 
as captured." 

Henry, who had been studying the near shore through the 
glasses, lowered them and looked at Francis. 

" Shout!" cried the latter. " You have a scheme. It's 
sticking out all over you. Name it." 

" Eight there are the two Tigres islands," Henry eluci- 
dated. " They guard the narrow entrance to Juchitan Inlet, 
which is called El Tigre. Oh, it has the teeth of a tiger, 
believe me. On either side of them, between them and the 
shore, it is too shoal to float a whaleboat unless you know 
the winding channels, which I do know. But between them 
is deep water, though the El Tigre Passage is so pinched that 
there is no room to come about. A schooner can only run 
it with the wind abaft or abeam. Now, the wind favors. 

We will run it. Which is only half my scheme " 

" And if the wind baffles or fails, sir and the tide of the 
inlet runs out and in like a race, as I well know my beauti- 
ful schooner will go on the rocks," Captain Trefethen 
protested. 

" For which, if it happens, I will pay you full value," 
Francis assured him shortly and brushed him aside. " And 
now, Henry, what's the other half of your scheme?" 

"I'm ashamed to tell you," Henry laughed. " But it 
will be provocative of more Spanish swearing than has been 
heard in Chiriqui Lagoon since old Sir Henry sacked San 
Antonio and Bocas del Toro. You just watch." 

Leoncia clapped her hands, as with sparkling eyes she 
cried : 

" It must be good, Henry. I can see it by your face. 
You must tell me." 



76 HEAETS OF THREE 

And, aside, his arm around her to steady her on the 
reeling deck, Henry whispered closely in her ear, while 
Francis, to hide his perturbation at the sight of them, made 
shift through the binoculars to study the faces on the pur- 
suing tug. Captain Trefethen grinned maliciously and ex- 
changed significant glances with the pale-yellow sailor." 

" Now, skipper," said Henry, returning. " We're just 
opposite El Tigre. Put up your helm and run for the 
passage. Also, and pronto, I want a coil of half -inch, old, 
soft, manila rope, plenty of rope-yarns and sail twine, that 
case of beer from the lazarette, that five-gallon kerosene can 
that was emptied last night, and the coffee-pot from the 
galley." 

But I am distrained to remark to your attention that 
that rope is worth good money, sir," Captain Trefethen 
complained, as Henry set to work on the heterogeneous gear. 
' You will be paid," Francis hushed him. 

" And the coffee-pot it is almost new." 

" You will be paid." 

The skipper sighed and surrendered, although he sighed 
again at Henry's next act, which was to uncork the bottles 
and begin emptying the beer out into the scuppers. 

" Please, sir," begged Percival. " If you must empty 
the beer please empty it into me." 

No further beer was wasted, and the crew swiftly laid the 
empty bottles beside Henry. At intervals of six feet he 
fastened the recorked bottles to the half -inch line. Also, he 
cut off two-fathom lengths of the line and attached them like 
streamers between the beer bottles. The coffee-pot and two 
empty coffee tins were likewise added among the bottles. 
To one end of the main-line he made fast the kerosene can, 
to the other end the empty beer-case, and looked up to 
Francis, who replied : 

" Oh, I got you five minutes ago. El Tigre must be 
narrow, or else the tug will go around that stuff." 

" El Tigre is just that narrow," was the response. 
" There's one place where the channel isn't forty feet 
between the shoals. If the skippers-misses our trap, he'll go 
around, aground. Say, they'll be able to wade ashore from 
the tug if that happens. Come on, now, we'll get the stuff 
aft and ready to toss out. You take starboard and I'll take 
port, and when I give the word you shoot that beer case out 
to the side as far as you can." 

Though the wind eased down, the Angelique, square before 



HEARTS OF THREE 77 

it, managed to make five knots, while the Dolores, doing six, 
slowly overhauled her. As the rifles began to speak from the 
Dolores, the skipper, under the direction of Henry and 
Francis, built up on the schooner's stern a low barricade of 
sacks of potatoes and onions, of old sails, and of hawser 
coils. Crouching low in the shelter of this, the helmsman 
managed to steer. Leoncia refused to go below as the firing 
became more continuous, but compromised by lying down 
behind the cabin-house. The rest of the sailors sought 
similar shelter in nooks and corners, while the Solano men, 
lying aft, returned the fire of the tug. 

Henry and Francis, in their chosen positions and waiting 
until the narrowness of El Tigre was reached, took a hand in 
the free and easy battle. 

"My congratulations, sir," Captain Trefethen said to 
Francis, the Indian of him compelling him to raise his head 
to peer across the rail, the negro of him flattening his body 
down until almost it seemed to bore into the deck. " That 
was Captain Rosaro himself that was steering, and the way 
he jumped and grabbed his hand would lead one to conclude 
that you had very adequately put a bullet through it. That 
Captain Rosaro is a very hot-tempered hombre, sir. I can 
almost hear him blaspheming now." 

" Stand ready for the word, Francis," Henry said, laying 
down his rifle and carefully studying the low shores of the 
islands of El Tigre on either side of them. " We're almost 
ready. Take your time when I give the word, and at 
* three ' let her go." 

The tug was two hundred yards away and overtaking fast, 
when Henry gave the word. He and Francis stood up, and 
at " three " made their fling. To either side can and beer- 
case flew, dragging behind them through the air the beaded 
rope of pots and cans and bottles and rope-streamers. 

In their interest, Henry and Francis remained standing in 
order to watch the maw of their trap as denoted by the 
spread of miscellaneous objects on the surface of their 
troubled wake. A fusillade of rifle shots from the tug made 
them drop back flat to the deck; but, peering over the rail, 
they saw the tug's forefoot press the floated rope down and 
under. A minute later they saw the tug slow down to a 
stop. 

" Some mess wrapped around iihat propeller," Francis 
applauded. " Henry, salute." 

" Now, if the wind holds ..." said Henry modestly. 



78 HEARTS OF THREE 

The Angelique sailed on, leaving the motionless tug to grow 
smaller in the distance, but not so small that they could not 
see her drift helplessly onto the shoal, and see men going 
over the side and wading about. 

' We just must sing our little song," Henry cried jubi- 
lantly, starting up the stave of " Back to Back Against the 
Mainmast." 

' Which is all very nice, sir," Captain Trefethen inter- 
rupted at the conclusion of the first chorus, his eyes glisten- 
ing and his shoulders still jiggling to the rhythm of the 
song. " But the wind has ceased, sir. We are becalmed. 
How are we to get out of Juchitan Inlet without wind? 
The Dolores is not wrecked. She is merely delayed. Some 
nigger will go down and clear her propeller, and then she has 
us right where she wants us." 

" It's not so far to shore," Henry adjudged with a measur- 
ing eye as he turned to Enrico. 

' What kind of a shore have they got ashore here, Senor 
Solano?" he queried. " Maya Indians and haciendados 
which?" 

" Haciendados and Mayas, both," Enrico answered. 
" But I know the country well. If the schooner is not safe, 
we should be safe ashore. We can get horses and saddles 
and beef and corn. The Cordilleras are beyond. What 
more should we want?" 

'' But Leoncia?" Francis asked solicitously. 

' Was born in the saddle, and in the saddle there are few 
Americanos she would not weary," came Enrico's answer. 
" It would be we", with your acquiescence, to swing out the 
long boat in case the Dolores appears upon us." 




CHAPTER VIII 

IT'S all right, skipper, it's all right," Henry assured the breed 
captain, who, standing on the beach with them, seemed loath 
to say farewell and pull back to the Angelique adrift half a 
mile away in the dead calm which had fallen on Juchitan 
Inlet. 

"It is what we call a diversion," Francis explained. 
44 That is a nice word diversion. And it is even nicer when 
you see it work." 

" But if it don't work," Captain Trefethen protested, 
44 then will it spell a confounded word, which I may name as 
catastrophe." 

" That is what happened to the Dolores when we tangled 
her propeller," Henry laughed. " But we do not know the 
meaning of that word. We use diversion instead. The 
proof that it will work is that we are leaving Senor Solano's 
two sons with you. Alvarado and Martinez know the pas- 
sages like a book. They will pilot you out with the first 
favoring breeze. The Jefe is not interested in you. He is 
after us, and when we take to the hills he'll be on our trail 
with every last man of his." 

" Don't you see!" Francis broke in. ' The Angelique is 
trapped. If we remain on board he will capture us and the 
Angelique as well. But we make the diversion of taking to 
the hills. He pursues us. The Angelique goes free. And 
of course he won't catch us." 

4 But suppose I do lose the schooner!" the swarthy 
skipper persisted. " If she goes on the rocks I will lose her, 
and the passages are very perilous." 

44 Then you will be paid for her, as I've told you before," 
Francis said, with a show of rising irritation. 

44 Also are there my numerous expenses " 

Francis pulled out a pad and pencil, scribbled a note, and 
passed it over, saying : 

44 Present that to Senor Melchor Gonzales at Bocas del 

79 



80 HEAETS OF THREE 

Toro. It is for a thousand gold. He is the banker; he is 
ray agent, and he will pay it to you." 

Captain Trefethen stared incredulously at the scrawled bit 
of paper. 

" Oh, he's good for it," Henry said. 
' Yes, sir, I know, sir, that Mr. Francis Morgan is a 
wealthy gentleman of renown. But how wealthy is he ? Is 
he as wealthy as I modestly am? I own the Ang clique, free 
of all debt. I own two town lots, unimproved, in Colon. 
And I own four water-front lots in Belen that will make me 
very wealthy when the Union Fruit Company begins the 
building of the warehouses " 

" How much, Francis, did your father leave you?" Henry 
quipped teasingly. " Or, rather, how many?" 

Francis shrugged his shoulders as he answered vaguely : 
" More than I have fingers and toes." 

" Dollars, sir?" queried the captain. 

Henry shook his head sharplv. 

!< Thousands, sir?" 

Again Henry shook his head. 

" Millions, sir?" 

" Now you're talking," Henry answered. " Mr. Francis 
Morgan is rich enough to buy almost all of the Eepublic of 
Panama, with the Canal cut out of the deal." 

The negro -Indian mariner looked his unbelief to Enrico 
Solano, who replied: 

' ' He is an honorable gentleman. I know. I have cashed 
his paper, drawn on Senor Melchor Gonzales at Bocas del 
Toro, for a thousand pesos. There it is in the bag there." 

He nodded his head up the beach to where Leoncia, in 
the midst of the dunnage landed with them, was toying with 
trying to slip cartridges into a Winchester rifle. The bag, 
which the skipper had long since noted, lay at her feet in 
the sand. 

" I do hate to travel strapped," Francis explained em- 
barrassedly to the white men of the group. " One never 
knows when a dollar mayn't come in handy. I got caught 
with a broken machine at Smith Biver Corners, up New York 
way, one night, with nothing but a check book, and, d'you 
know, I couldn't get even a cigarette in the town." 

" I trusted a white gentleman in Barbadoes once, who 

chartered my boat to go fishing flying fish " the captain 

began. 

" Well, so long, skipper," Henry shut him off. " You'd 



HEARTS OF THREE 81 

better be getting on board, because we're going to hike." 

And for Captain Trefethen, staring at the backs of his 
departing passengers, remained naught but to obey. Helping 
to shove the boat oft, he climbed in, took the steering sweep, 
and directed his course toward the Angelique. Glancing back 
from time to time, he saw the party on the beach shoulder 
the baggage and disappear into the dense green wall of 
vegetation. 

They came out upon an inchoate clearing, and saw gangs 
of peons at work chopping down and grubbing out the roots 
of the virgin tropic forest so that rubber trees for the 
manufacture of automobile tires might be planted to replace 
it. Leoncia, beside her father, walked in the lead. Her 
brothers, Ricardo and Alesandro, in the middle, were bur- 
dened with the dunnage, as were Francis and Henry, who 
brought up the rear. And this strange procession was met 
by a slender, straight-backed, hidalgo-appearing, elderly 
gentleman, who leaped his horse across tree-trunks and 
stump-holes in order to gain to them. 

He was off his horse, at sight of Enrico, sombrero in hand 
in recognition of Leoncia, his hand extended to Enrico in 
greeting of ancient friendship, his lips wording words and his 
eyes expressing admiration to Enrico's daughter. 

The talk was in rapid-fire Spanish, and the request for 
horses preferred and qualifiedly granted, ere the introduction 
of the two Morgans took place. The haciendado 's horse, 
after the Latin fashion, was immediately Leoncia's, and, 
without ado, he shortened the stirrups and placed her astride 
in the saddle. A murrain, he explained, had swept his 
plantation of riding animals ; but his chief overseer still 
possessed a fair-conditioned one which was Enrico's as soon 
as it could be procured. 

His handshake to Henry and Francis was hearty as well 
as dignified, as he took two full minutes ornately to state that 
any friend of his dear friend Enrico was his friend. When 
Enrico asked the haciendado about the trails up toward the 
Cordilleras and mentioned oil, Francis pricked up his ears. 

"Don't tell me, Senor," he began, "that they have 
located oil in Panama?" 

"They have," the haciendado nodded gravely. 'We 
knew of the oil ooze, and had known of it for generations. 
But it was the Hermosillo Company that sent its Gringo 
engineers in secretly and then bought up the land. They 



82 HEAETS OF THREE 

say it is a great field. But I know nothing of oil myself. 
They have many wells, and have bored much, and so much 
oil have they that it is running away over the landscape. 
They say they cannot choke it entirely down, such is the 
volume and pressure. What they need is the pipe-line to 
ocean-carriage, which they have begun to build. In the 
meantime it flows away down the canyons, an utter loss of 
incredible proportion. ' ' 

" Have they built any tanks?" Francis demanded, his 
mind running eagerly on Tampico Petroleum, to which most 
of his own fortune was pledged, and of which, despite the 
rising stock-market, he had heard nothing since his depar- 
ture from New York. 

The haciendado shook his head. 

" Transportation," he explained. " The freight from 
tide-water to the gushers by mule-back has been prohibitive. 
But they have impounded much of it. They have lakes of 
oil, great reservoirs in the hollows of the hills, earthen- 
dammed, and still they cannot choke down the flow, and 
still the precious substance flows down the canyons." 

" Have they roofed these reservoirs?" Francis inquired, 
remembering a disastrous fire in the early days of Tampico 
Petroleum. 

"No, Senor." 

Francis shook his head disapprovingly. 

" They should be roofed," he said. " A match from the 
drunken or revengeful hand of any peon could set the whole 
works off. It's poor business, poor business." 

" But I am not the Hermosillo," the haciendado said. 

" For the Hermosillo Company, I meant, Senor," Francis 
explained. " I am an oil-man. I have paid through the 
nose to the tune of hundreds of thousands for similar acci- 
dents or crimes. One never knows just how they happen 
What one does know is that they do happen " 

What more Francis might have said about the expediency 
of protecting oil reservoirs from stupid or wilful peons, was 
never to be known; for, at the moment, the chief overseer 
of the plantation, stick in hand, rode up, half his interest 
devoted to the newcomers, the other half to the squad of 
peons working close at hand. 

" Senor Ramirez, will you favor me by dismounting," his 
employer, the haciendado, politely addressed him, at the 
same time introducing him to the strangers as soon as he 
had dismounted. 



HEARTS OF THREE 83 

" The animal is yours, friend Enrico," the haciendado 
said. "If it dies, please return at your easy convenience 
the saddle and gear. And if your convenience be not easy, 
please do not remember that there is to be any return, save 
ever and always, of your love for me. I regret that you and 
your party cannot now partake of my hospitality. But the 
Jefe is a bloodhound, I know. We shall do our best to send 
him astray." 

With Leoncia and Enrico mounted, and the gear made 
fast to the saddles by. leather thongs, the cavalcade started, 
Alesandro and Ricardo clinging each to a stirrup of their 
father's saddle and trotting alongside. This was for making 
greater haste, and was emulated by Francis and Henry, who 
clung to Leoncia's stirrups. Fast to the pommel of her 
saddle was the bag of silver dollars. 

" It is some mistake," the haciendado was explaining to 
his overseer. " Enrico Solano is an honorable man. Any- 
thing to which he pledges himself is honorable. He has 
pledged himself to this, whatever it may be, and yet is 
Mariano Vercara e" Hijos on their trail. We shall mislead 
him if he comes this way." 

" And here he comes," the overseer remarked, " without 
luck so far in finding horses." Casually he turned on the 
laboring peons and with horrible threats urged them to do 
at least half a day's decent work in a day. 

From the corner of his eye, the haciendado observed the 
fast-walking group of men, with Alvarez Torres in the lead; 
but, as if he had not noticed, he conferred with his overseer 
about the means of grubbing out the particular stump the 
peons were working on. 

He returned the greeting of Torres pleasantly, and in- 
quired politely, with a touch of devilry, if he led the party 
of men on some oil-prospecting adventure. 

" No, Senor," Torres answered. ' We are in search of 
Senor Enrico Solano, his daughter, his sons, and two tall 
Gringos with them. It is the Gringos we want. They have 
passed .this way, Senor?" 

" Yes, they have passed. I imagined they, too, were 
in some oil excitement, such was their haste that prevented 
them from courteously passing the time of day and stating 
their destination. Have they committed some offence? 
But I should not ask. Senor Enrico Solano is too honor- 
able a man " 

' Which way did they go?" the Jefe demanded, thrusting 



84 HEAETS OF THEEE 

himself breathlessly forward from the rear of his gendarmes 
with whom he had just caught up. 

And while the haciendado and his overseer temporized 
and prevaricated, and indicated an entirely different direc- 
tion, Torres noted one of the peons, leaning on his spade, 
listen intently. And still while the Jefe was being misled 
and was giving orders to proceed on the false scent, Torres 
flashed a silver dollar privily to the listening peon. The 
peon nodded his head in the right direction, caught the coin 
unobserved, and applied himself to his digging at the root 
of the huge stump. 

Torres countermanded the Jefe's order. 

" We will go the other way," Torres said, with a wink 
to the Jefe. " A little bird has told me that our friend 
here is mistaken and that they have gone the other way." 

As the posse departed on the hot trail, the haciendado 
and his overseer looked at each other in consternation and 
amazement. The overseer made a movement of his lips 
for silence, and looked swiftly at the group of laborers. 
The offending peon was working furiously and absorbedly, 
but another peon, with a barely perceptible nod of head, 
indicated him to the overseer. 

" There's the little bird," the overseer cried, striding 
to the traitor and shaking him violently. 

Out of the peon's rags flew the silver dollar. 

" Ah, ha," said the haciendado, grasping the situation. 
" He has become suddenly affluent. This is horrible, that 
my peons should be wealthy. Doubtless, he has murdered 
some one for all that sum. Beat him, and make him con- 
fess." 

The creature, on his knees, the stick of the overseer 
raining blows on his head and back, made confession of 
what he had done to earn the dollar. 

" Beat him, beat him some more, beat him to death, 
the beast who betrayed my dearest friends," the haciendado 

urged placidly. " But no caution. Do not beat him to 

death, but nearly so. We are short of labor now and 
cannot afford the full measure of our just resentment. 
Beat him to hurt him much, but that he shall be compelled 
to lay off work no more than a couple of days." 

Of the immediately subsequent agonies, adventures, and 
misadventures of the peon, a volume might be written 
which w%uld be the epic of his life. Besides, to be beaten 
nearly to death is not nice to contemplate or dwell upon. 



HEARTS OF THREE 85 

Let it suffice to tell that when he had received no more 
than part of his beating; he wrenched free, leaving half his 
rags in the overseer's grasp, and fled madly for the jungle, 
outfooting the overseer who was unused to rapid locomotion 
save when on a horse's back. 

Such was the speed of the wretched creature's flight, 
spurred on by the pain of his lacerations and the fear of 
the overseer, that, plunging wildly on, he overtook the 
Solano party and plunged out of the jungle and into them 
as they were crossing a shallow stream, and fell upon his 
knees, whimpering for mercy. He whimpered because of 
his betrayal of them. But this they did not know, and 
Francis, seeing his pitiable condition, lingered behind long 
enough to unscrew the metal top from a pocket flask and 
revive him with a drink of half the contents. Then Francis 
hastened on, leaving the poor devil muttering inarticulate 
thanks ere he dived ofi into the sheltering jungle in a 
different direction. But, underfed, overworked, his body 
gave way, and he sank down in collapse in the green covert. 
Next, Alvarez Torres in the lead and tracking lika a 
hound, the gendarmes at his back, the Jefe panting in the 
rear from shortness of breath, the pursuit arrived at the 
stream. The foot-marks of the peon, still wet on the dry 
stones beyond the margin of the stream, caught Torres' 
eye. In a trice, by what little was left of his garments, 
tne peon was dragged out. On his knees, which portion 
of his anatomy he was destined to occupy much this day, 
he begged for mercy and received his interrogation. And 
he denied knowledge of the Solano party. He, who had 
betrayed and been beaten, but who had received only 
succor from those he had betrayed, felt stir in him some 
atom of gratitude and good. He denied knowledge of the 
Solanos since in the clearing where he had sold them for 
the silver dollar. Torres' stick fell upon his head, five 
times, ten times, and went on falling with the certitude 
that in all eternity there would be no cessation unless he 
told the truth. And, after all, he was a miserable and 
wretched thing, spirit-broken by beatings from the cradle, 
and the sting of Torres' stick, with the threat of the pleni- 
tude of the stick that meant the death his own owner, the 
haciendado, could not afford, made him give in and point 
the way of the chase. 

But his day of tribulation had only begun. Scarcely 
had be betrayed the Solanos the second time, and still on 
o 



86 HEARTS OF THREE 

his knees, when the haciendado, With the posse of neigh- 
boring haciendados and overseers he had called to his help, 
burst upon the scene astride sweating horses. 

"My peon, senors," announced the haciendado, itching 
to be at him. " You maltreat him.'* 

" And why not?" demanded the Jefe. 

" Because he is mine to maltreat, and I wish to do it 
myself." 

The peon crawled and squirmed to the Jefe's feet and 
begged and entreated not to be given up. But he begged 
for mercy where was no mercy. 

"Certainly, senor," the Jefe said to the haciendado. 
" We give him back to you. We must uphold the law, 
and he is your property. Besides, we have no further use 
for him. Yet is he a most excellent peon, senor. He 
has done what no peon has ever done in !he history of 
Panama. He has told the truth twice in one day." 

His hands tied together in front of him and hitched 
by a rope to the horn of the overseer's saddle, the peon 
was towed away on the back-track with a certain appre- 
hension that the worst of his beatings for that day was 
very imminent. Nor was he mistaken. Back at the planta- 
tion, he was tied like an animal to a post of a barbed wire 
fence, while his owner and the friends of his owner who 
had helped in the capture went into the hacienda to take 
their twelve o'clock breakfast. After that, he knew what 
he was to receive. But the barbed wire of the fence, and 
the lame mare in the paddock behind it, built an idea 
in the desperate mind of the peon. Though the sharp barbs 
of the wire again and again cut his wrist, he quickly sawed 
through his bonds, free save for the law, crawled under the 
fence, led the lame mare through the gate, mounted her 
barebacked, and, with naked heels tattooing her ribs, gal- 
loped her away toward the safety of the Cordilleras. 




CHAPTER IX 

IN the meantime the Solanos were being overtaken, and 
Henry teased Francis with : 

" Here in the jungle is where dollars are worthless. They 
can buy neither fresh horses, nor can they repair these two 
spineless creatures, which must likewise be afflicted with 
the murrain that carried off the rest of the haciendado's 
riding animals." 

" I've never been in a place yet where money wouldn't 
work," Francis replied. 

' I suppose it could even buy a drink of water in hell," 
was Henry's retort. 

Leoncia clapped her hands. 

" I don't know," Francis observed. " I have never been 
there." 

Again Leoncia clapped her hands. 

" Just the same I have an idea I can make dollars work 
in the jungle, and I am going to try it right now," Francis 
continued, at the same time untying the coin-sack from 
Leoncia's pommel. ' You go ahead and ride on." 

" But you must tell me," Leoncia insisted; and, aside, 
in her ear as she leaned to him from the saddle, he whis- 
pered what made her laugh again, while Henry, conferring 
with Enrico and his sons, inwardly berated himself for 
being a jealous fool. 

Before they were out of sight, looking back, they saw 
Francis, with pad and pencil out, writing something. What 
he wrote was eloquently brief, merely the figure " 50." 
Tearing off the sheet, he laid it conspicuously in the middle 
of the trail and weighted it down with a silver dollar. 
Counting out forty-nine other dollars from the bag, he 
sowed them very immediately about the first one and ran 
up the trail after his party. 

Augustino, the gendarme who rarely spoke when he was 

87 



88 HEARTS OF THREE 

sober, but who when drunk preached volubly the wisdom 
of silence, was in the lead, with bent head nosing the track 
of the quarry, when his keen eyes lighted on the silver 
dollar holding down the sheet of paper. The first he 
appropriated; the second he turned over to the Jefe. Torres 
looked over his shoulder, and together they read the mystic 
" 50." The Jefe tossed the scrap of paper aside as of 
little worth, and was for resuming the chase, but Augustino 
picked up and pondered the " 50 " thoughtfully. Even as 
he pondered it, a shout from Kafael advertised the finding 
of another dollar. Then Augustino knew. There were fifty 
of the coins to be had for the picking up. Flinging the note 
to the wind, he was on hands and knees overhauling the 
ground. The rest of the party joined in the scramble, 
while Torres and the Jefe screamed curses on them in a 
vain effort to make them proceed. 

When the gendarmes could find no more, they counted 
up what they had recovered. The toll came to forty-seven. 

" There are three more," cried Eafael, whereupon all 
flung themselves into the search again. Five minutes more 
were lost, ere the three other coins were found. Each 
pocketed what he had retrieved and obediently swung into 
the pursuit at the heels of Torres and the Jefe. 

A mile farther on, Torres tried to trample a shining 
dollar into the dirt, but Augustino 's ferret eyes had been 
too quick, and his eager fingers dug it out of the soft earth. 
Where was one dollar, as they had already learned, there 
were more dollars. The posse came to a halt, and while 
the two leaders fumed and imprecated, the rest of the 
members cast about right and left from the trail. 

Vicente, a moon -faced gendarme, who looked more like 
a Mexican Indian than a Maya or a Panamanian " breed," 
lighted first on the clue. All gathered about, like hounds 
around a tree into which the 'possum has been run. In 
truth, it was a tree, or a rotten and hollow stump of one, 
a dozen feet in height and a third as many feet in diameter. 
Five feet from the ground was an opening. Above the 
opening, pinned on by a thorn, was a sheet of paper the 
same size as the first they had found. On it was written 
"100." 

In the scramble that ensued, half a dozen minutes were 
lost as half a dozen right arms strove to be first in dipping 
into the hollow heart of the stump to the treasure. But 
the hollow extended deeper than their arms were long. 



HEARTS OF THREE 89 

" We will chop down the stump," Eafael cried, sounding 
with the back of his machete against the side of it to 
locate the base of the hollow. " We will all chop, and we 
will count what we find inside and divide equally." 

By this time their leaders were frantic, and the Jefe had 
begun threatening, the moment they were back in San 
Antonio, to send them to San Juan where their carcasses 
would be picked by the buzzards. 

" But we are not back in San Antonio, thank God," said 
Augustino, breaking his sober seal of silence in order to 
enunciate wisdom. 

' We are poor men, and we will divide in fairness," 
spoke up Rafael. " Augustino is right, and thank God for 
it that we are not back in San Antonio. This rich Gringo 
scatters more money along the way in a day for us to pick 
up than could we earn in a year where we come from. I, 
for one, am for revolution, where money is so plentiful." 

" With the rich Gringo for a leader," Augustino supple- 
mented. " For as long as he leads this way could I follow 
forever. ' ' 

" If," Rafael nodded agreement, with a pitch of his 
head toward Torres and the Jefe, " if they do not give us 
opportunity to gather what the gods have spread for us, 
then to the last and deepest of the roasting hells of hell 
for them. We are men, not slaves. The world is wide. 
The Cordilleras are just beyond. We will all be rich, and 
free men, and live in the Cordilleras where the Indian 
maidens are wildly beautiful and desirable " 

" And we will be well rid of our wives, back in San 
Antonio," said Vicente. "Let us now chop down this 
treasure tree." 

Swinging their machetes with heavy, hacking blows, the 
wood, so rotten that it was spongy, gave way readily before 
their blades. And when the stump fell over, they counted 
and divided, in equity, not one hundred silver dollars, but 
one hundred and forty-seven. 

" He is generous, this Gringo," quoth Vicente. " He 
leaves more than he says. May there not be still more?" 

And, from the debris of rotten wood, much of it crumbled 
to powder under their blows, they recovered five more coins, 
in the doing of which they lost ten more minutes that drove 
Torres and Jefe to the verge of madness. 

" He does not stop to count, the wealthy Gringo," said 
Rafael. " He must merely open that sack and pour it 



90 , HEARTS OF THEEE 

out. And that is the sack with which he rode to the beach 
of San Antonio when he blew up with dynamite the wall 
of our jail." 

The chase' was resumed, and all went well for half an 
hour, when they came upon an abandoned freehold, already 
half -overrun with the returning jungle. A dilapidated, straw- 
thatched house, a fallen-in labor barracks, a broken-down 
corral the very posts of which had sprouted and leaved into 
growing trees, and a well showing recent use by virtue of 
a fresh length of riata attaching bucket to well-sweep, 
showed where some man had failed to tame the wild. And, 
conspicuously on the well-sweep, was pinned a familiar sheet 
of paper on which was written " 300." 

" Mother of God! a fortune!" cried Eafael. 

" May the devil forever torture him in the last and 
deepest hell!" was Torres' contribution. 

" He pays better than your Senor Began," the Jefe 
sneered in his despair and disgust. 

" His bag of silver is only so large," Torres retorted. 
" It seems we must pick it all up before we catch him. 
But when we have picked it all up, and his bag is empty, 
then will we catch him." 

' We will go on now, comrades," the Jefe addressed his 
posse ingratiatingly. " Afterwards, we will return at our 
leisure and recover the silver. ' ' 

Augustino broke his seal of silence again. 

" One never knows the way of one's return, if one ever 
returns," he enunciated pessimistically. Elated by the pearl 
of wisdom he had dropped, he essayed another. " Three 
hundred in hand is better than three million in the bottom 
of a well we may never see again." 

" Some one must descend into the well," spoke Rafael, 
testing the braided rope with his weight. " See ! The riata 
is strong. We will lower a man by it. Who is the brave 
one who will go down?" 

" I," said Vicente. " I will be the brave one to go 
down " 

" And steal half that you find," Eafael uttered his 
instant suspicion. " If you go down, first must you count 
over to us the pesos you already possess. Then, when you 
come up, we can search you for all you have found. After 
that, when we have divided equitably, will your other pesos 
be returned to you." 

" Then will I not go down for comrades who have no 



HEARTS OF THREE 91 

trust in me," Vicente said stubbornly. " Here, beside the 
well, I am as wealthy as any of you. Then why should I 
go down? I have heard of men dying in the bottom of 
wells." 

" In God's name go down !" stormed the Jefe. " Haste ! 
Haste!" 

" I am too fat, the rope is not strong, and I shall not go 
down," said Vicente. 

All looked to Augustino, the silent one, who had already 
spoken more than he was accustomed to speak in a week. 
" Guillermo is the thinnest and lightest," said Augustino. 
" Guillermo will go down!" the rest chorused. 
But Guillermo, glaring apprehensively at the mouth of 
the well, backed away, shaking his head and crossing him- 
self. 

" Not for the sacred treasure in the secret city of the 
Mayas," he muttered. 

The Jefe pulled his revolver and glanced to the remainder 
of the posse for confirmation. With eyes and head-nods 
they gave it. 

" In heaven's name go down," he threatened the little 
gendarme. " And make haste, or I shall put you in such a 
fix that never again will you go up or down, but you will 
remain here and rot forever beside this hole of perdition. 
Is it well, comrades, that I kill him if he does not go down?" 
" It is well," they shouted. 

And Guillermo, with trembling fingers, counted out the 
coins he had already retrieved, and, in the throes of fear, 
crossing himself repeatedly and urged on by the hand- 
thrusts of his companions, stepped upon the bucket, sat 
down on it with legs wrapped about it, and was lowered 
away out of the light of day. 

"Stop!" he screamed up the shaft. "Stop! Stop! 
The water ! I am upon it ! " 

Those on the sweep held it with their weight. 
" I should receive ten pesos extra above my share," he 
called up. 

' You shall receive baptism," was called down to him, 
and, variously : " You will have your fill of water this day " ; 
" We will let go " ; " We will cut the rope "; " There will 
be one less with whom to share." 

" The water is not nice," he replied, his voice rising like 
a ghost's out of the dark depth. " There are sick lizards, 



92 HEARTS OF THREE 

and a dead bird that stinks. And there may be snakes. It 
is well worth ten pesos extra what I must do." 
' We will drown you!" Rafael shouted. 
" I shall shoot down upon you and kill you!" the Jefe 

1 I 1 n ** 

bullied. 

" Shoot or drown me," Guillermo's voice floated up; 
" but it will buy you nothing, for the treasure will still be 
in the well." 

There was a pause, in which those at the surface ques- 
tioned each other with their eyes as to what they should do. 

' ' And the Gringos are running away farther and farther, ' ' 
Torres fumed. " A fine discipline you have, Senor Mariano 
-Vercara e Hijos, over your gendarmes!" 

" This is not San Antonio," the Jefe flared back. " This 
is the bush of Juchitan. My dogs are good dogs in San 
Antonio. In the bush they must be handled gently, else 
may they become wild dogs, and what then will happen to 
you and me?" 

" It is the curse of gold," Torres surrendered sadly. " It 
is almost enough to make one become a socialist, with a 
Gringo thus tying the hands of justice with ropes of gold." 

"Of silver," the Jefe corrected. 

" You go to hell," said Torres. " As you have pointed 
out, this is not San Antonio but the bush of Juchitan, and 
here I may well tell you to go to hell. Why should you and 
I quarrel because of your bad temper, when our prosperity 
depends on standing together?" 

" Besides," the voice of Guillermo drifted up, " the water 
is not two feet deep. You cannot drown me in it. I have 
just felt the bottom and I have four round silver pesos in 
my hand right now. The bottom is carpeted with pesos. 
Do you want to let go ? Or do I get ten pesos extra for the 
filthy job? The water stinks like a fresh graveyard." 
' Yes ! Yes 1 ' ' they shouted down. 

1 ' Which ? Let go ? Or the extra ten ? " 

" The extra ten!" they chorused. 

" In God's name, haste ! haste!" cried the Jefe. 

They heard splashings and curses from the bottom of the 
well, and, from the lightening of the strain on the riata, 
knew that Guillermo had left the bucket and was floundering 
for the coin. 

" Put it in the bucket, good Guillermo," Rafael called 
down. 

" I am putting it in my pockets," up came the reply. 



HEARTS OF THREE 93 

" Did I put it in the bucket you might haul it up first and 
well forget to haul me up afterward." 

" The double weight might break the riata," Rafael 
cautioned. 

" The riata may not be so strong as my will, for my will 
in this matter is most strong," said Guillermo. 

" If the riata should break ..." Eafael began again. 

" I have a solution," said Guillermo. " Do you come 
down. Then shall I go up first. Second, the treasure shall 
go up in the bucket. And, third and last, shall you go up. 
Thus will justice be triumphant." 

Rafael, with dropped jaw of dismay, did not reply. 

" Are you coming, Rafael?" 

" No," he answered. " Put all the silver in your pockets 
and come up together with it." 

" I could curse the race that bore me," was the im- 
patient observation of the Jefe. 

" I have already cursed it," said Torres. 

' ' Haul away I ' ' shouted Guillermo. ' ' I have everything 
in my pockets save the stench ; and I am suffocating. Haul 
quick, or I shall perish, and the three hundred pesos will 
perish with me. And there are more than three hundred. 
He must have emptied his bag." 

Ahead, on the trail, where the way grew steep and the 
horses without stamina rested and panted, Francis overtook 
his party. 

" Never again shall I travel without minted coin of the 
realm," he exulted, as he described what he had remained 
behind to see from the edge of the deserted plantation. 
" Henry, when I die and go to heaven, I shall have a stout 
bag of cash along with me. Even there could it redeem me 
from heaven alone knows what scrapes. Listen ! They 
fought like cats and dogs about the mouth of the well. 
Nobody would trust anybody to descend into the well unless 
he deposited what he had previously picked up with those 
that remained at the top. They were out of hand. The 
Jefe, at the point of his gun, had to force the littlest and 
leanest of them to go down. And when he was down he 
blackmailed them before he would come up. And when he 
came up they broke their promises and gave him a beating. 
They were still beating him when I left." 

" But now your sack is empty," said Henry. 

" Which is our present and most pressing trouble," 



94 HEAETS OF THREE 

Francis agreed. " Had I sufficient pesos I could keep the 
pursuit well behind us forever. I'm afraid I was too 
generous. I did not know how cheap the poor devils were. 
But I'll tell you something that will make your hair stand 
up. Torres, Senor Torres, Senor Alvarez Torres, the ele- 
gant gentleman and old-time friend of you Solanos, is leading 
the pursuit along with the Jefe. He is furious at the delay. 
They almost had a rupture because the Jefe couldn't keep 
his men in hand. Yes, sir, and he told the Jefe to go to 
hell. I distinctly heard him tell the Jefe to go to hell." 

Five miles farther on, the horses of Leoncia and her father 
in collapse, where the trail plunged into and ascended a dark 
ravine, Francis urged the others on and dropped behind. 
Giving them a few minutes' start, he followed on behind, a 
self-constituted rearguard. Part way along, in an open 
space where grew only a thick sod of grass, he was dismayed 
to find the hoof-prints of the two horses staring at him as 
large as dinner plates from out of the sod. Into the hoof- 
prints had welled a dark, slimy fluid that his eye told him 
was crude oil. This was but the beginning, a sort of seepage 
from a side stream above off from the main flow. A hun- 
dred yards beyond he came upon the flow itself, a river of 
oil that on such a slope would have been a cataract had it 
been water. But being crude oil, as thick as molasses, it 
oozed slowly down the hill like so much molasses. And 
here, preferring to make his stand rather than to wade 
through the sticky mess, Francis sat down on a rock, laid 
his rifle on one side of him, his automatic pistol on the other 
side, rolled a cigarette, and kept his ears pricked for the first 
sounds of the pursuit. 

And the beaten peon, threatened with more beatings and 
belaboring his over-ridden mare, rode across the top of the 
ravine above Francis, and, at the oil-well itself, had his 
exhausted animal collapse under him. With his heels he 
kicked her back to her feet, and with a stick belabored her 
to stagger away from him and on and into the jungle. And 
the first day of his adventures, although he did not know it, 
was not yet over. He, too, squatted on a stone, his feet out 
of the oil, rolled a cigarette, and, as he smoked it, con- 
templated the flowing oil-well. The noise of approaching 
men startled him, and he fled into the immediately adjacent 
jungle, from which he peered forth and saw two strange men 



HEARTS OF THREE 95 

appear. . They came directly to the well, and, by an iron 
wheel turning the valve, choked down the flow still further. 

" No more," commanded the* one who seemed to be 
leader. " Another turn, and the pressure will blow out the 
pipes for so the Gringo engineer has warned me most 
carefully." 

And a slight flow, beyond the limited safety, continued to 
run from the mouth of the gusher down the mountain side. 
Scarcely had the two men accomplished this, when a body 
of horsemen rode up, whom the peon in hiding recognized as 
the haciendado who owned him and the overseers and 
haciendados of neighboring plantations who delighted in 
running down a fugitive laborer in much the same way that 
the English delight in chasing the fox. 

No, the two oil-men had seen nobody. But the hacien- 
dado who led saw the footprints of the mare, and spurred 
his horse to follow, his crowd at his heels. 

The peon waited, smoked his cigarette quite to the finish, 
and cogitated. When all was clear, he ventured forth, 
turned the mechanism controlling the well wide open t 
watched the oil fountaining upward under the subterranean 
pressure and flowing down the mountain in a veritable river. 
Also, he listened to and noted the sobbing, and gasping, and 
bubbling of the escaping gas. This he did not comprehend, 
and all that saved him for his further adventures was the 
fact that he had used his last match to light his cigarette. 
In vain he searched his rags, his ears, and his hair. He was 
out of matches. 

So, chuckling at the river of oil he was wantonly running 
to waste, and, remembering the canyon trail below, he 
plunged down the mountainside and upon Francis, who 
received him with extended automatic. Down went the 
peon on his frayed and frazzled knees in terror and supplica- 
tion to the man he had twice betrayed that day. Francis 
studied him, at first without recognition, because of the 
bruised and lacerated face and head on which the blood had 
dried like a mask. 

" Amigo, amigo," chattered the peon. 
But at that moment, from below on the ravine trail, 
Francis heard the clatter of a stone dislodged by some man's 
foot. The next moment he identified what was left of the 
peon as the pitiable creature to whom he had given half the 
contents of his whiskey flask. 



96 HEAETS OF THREE 

' Well, amigo," Francis said in the native language, " it 
looks as if they are after you." 

' They will kill me, they will beat me to death, they are 
very angry," the wretch quavered. " You are my only 
friend, my father and my mother, save me." 

*' Can you shoot?" Francis demanded. 

" I was a hunter in the Cordilleras before I was sold into 
slavery, Senor," was the reply. 

Francis passed him the automatic, motioned him to take 
shelter, and told him not to fire until sure of a hit. And to 
himself he mused : The golfers are out on the links right 
now at Tarrytown. And Mrs. Bellingham is on the club- 
house veranda wondering how she is going to pay the three 
thousand points she's behind and praying for a change oi 

luck. And here am I, Lord ! Lord backed up to 

a river of oil ... 

His musing ceased as abruptly as appeared the Jefe, 
Torres, and the gendarmes down the trail. As abruptly he 
fired his rifle, and as abruptly they fell back out of sight. 
He could not tell whether he had hit one, or whether the 
man had merely fallen in precipitate retreat. The pursuers 
did not care to make a rush of it, contenting themselves 
with bushwhacking. Francis and the peon did the same, 
sheltering behind rocks and bushes and frequently changing 
their positions. 

At the end of an hour, the last cartridge in Francis' rifle 
was all that remained. The peon, under his warnings and 
threats, still retained two cartridges in the automatic. But 
the hour had been an hour saved for Leoncia and her people, 
and Francis was contentedly aware that at any moment he 
could turn and escape by wading across the river of oil. So 
all was well, and would have been well, had not, from above, 
come an eruption of another body of men, who, from behind 
trees, fired as they descended. This was the haciendado and 
his fellow haciendados, in chase of the fugitive peon 
although Francis did not know it. His conclusion was that 
it was another posse that was after him. The shots they 
fired at him were strongly confirmative. 

The peon crawled to his side, showed him that two shots 
remained in the automatic he was returning to him, and 
impressively begged from him his box of matches. Next, 
the peon motioned him to cross the bottom of the canyon 
and climb the other side. With half a guess of the creature's 
intention, Francis complied, from his new position of vantage 



HEARTS OF THEEE 97 

emptying his last rifle cartridge at the advancing posse and 
sending it back into shelter down the ravine. 

The next moment, the river of oil flared into flame from 
where the peon had touched a match to it. In the following 
moment, clear up the mountainside, the well itself sent a 
fountain of ignited gas a hundred feet into the. air. And, in 
the moment after, the ravine itself poured a torrent of flame 
down upon the posse of Torres and the Jefe. 

Scorched by the heat of the conflagration, Francis and 
the peon clawed up the opposite side of the ravine, circled 
around and past the blazing trail, and, at a dog-trot, raced 
up the recovered trail. 



CHAPTER X 

WHILE Francis and the peon hurried up the ravine-trail in 
safety, the ravine itself, below where the oil flowed in, had 
become a river of flame, which drove the Jefe, Torres, and 
the gendarmes to scale the steep wall of the ravine. At the 
same time the party of haciendados in pursuit of the peon 
was compelled to claw back and up to escape out of the 
roaring canyon. 

Ever the peon glanced back over his shoulder, until, with 
a cry of joy, he indicated a second black-smoke pillar rising 
in the air beyond the first burning well. 

" More," he chuckled. " There are more wells. They 
will all burn. And so shall they and all their race pay for 
the many blows they have beaten on me. And there is a 
lake of oil there, like the sea, like Juchitan Inlet it is so big." 

And Francis recollected the lake of oil about which the 
haciendado had told him that, containing at least five mil- 
lion barrels which could not yet be piped to sea transport, 
lay open to the sky, merely in a natural depression in the 
ground and contained by an earth dam. 

" How much are you worth?" he demanded of the peon 
with apparent irrelevance. 

But the peon could not understand. 

" How much are your clothes worth all you've got on?" 

" Half a peso, nay, half of a half peso," the peon admitted 
ruefully, surveying what was left of his tattered rags. 

"And other property?" 

The wretched creature shrugged his shoulders in token 
of his utter destitution, then added bitterly : 

" I possess nothing but a debt. I owe two hundred and 
fifty pesos. I am tied to it for life, damned with it for life 
like a man with a cancer. That is why I am a slave to the 
haciendado." 

" Huh !" Francis could not forbear to grin. ' Worth two 
hundred and fifty pesos less than nothing, not even a cipher, 

93 



HEARTS OF THREE 99 

a sheer abstraction of a minus quantity without existence 
save in the mathematical imagination ol man, and yet here 
you are burning up not less than millions of pesos' worth of 
oil. And if the strata is loose and erratic and the oil leaks 
up outside the tubing, the chances are that the oil-body of 
the entire field is ignited say a billion dollars' worth. Say, 
for an abstraction enjoying two hundred and fifty dollars' 
worth of non-existence, you are some hombre, believe me." 

Nothing of which the peon understood save the word 
" hombre." 

" I am a man," he proclaimed, thrusting out his chest 
and straightening up his bruised head. " I am a hombre 
and I am a Maya. ' ' 

" Maya Indian you?" Francis scoffed. 

"Half Maya," was the reluctant admission. "My 
father is pure Maya. But the Maya women of the Cordille- 
ras did not satisfy him. He must love a mixed-breed woman 
of the tierra calient e. I was so born; but she afterward 
betrayed him for a Barbadoes nigger, and he went back to 
the Cordilleras to live. And, like my father, I was born to 
love a mixed breed of the tierra calient e. She wanted 
money, and my head was fevered with want of her, and I 
sold myself to be a peon for two hundred pesos. And I saw 
never her nor the money again. For five years I have been 
a peon. For five years I have slaved and been beaten, and 
behold, at the end of- five years my debt is not two hundred 
but two hundred and fifty pesos." 

And while Francis Morgan and the long -suffering Maya 
half-breed plodded on deeper into the Cordilleras to overtake 
their party, and while the oil fields of Juchitan continued to 
go up in increasing smoke, still farther on, in the heart of 
the Cordilleras, were preparing other events destined to 
bring together all pursuers and all pursued Francis and 
Henry and Leoncia and their party; the peon; the party of 
the haciendados; and the gendarmes of the Jefe, and, along 
with them, Alvarez Torres, eager to win for himself not only 
the promised reward of Thomas Regan but the possession of 
Leoncia Solano. 

In a cave sat a man and a woman. Pretty the latter was, 
and young, a mestizo,, or half-caste woman. By the light of 
a cheap kerosene lamp she read aloud from a calf-bound tome 
which was a Spanish translation of Blackstone. Both were 
barefooted and bare-armed, clad in hooded gabardines of 



100 HEARTS OF THREE 

sack-cloth. Her hood lay back on her shoulders, exposing 
her black and generous head of hair. But the old man's 
hood was cowled about his head after the fashion of a monk. 
The face, lofty and ascetic, beaked with power, was pure 
Spanish. Don Quixote might have worn precisely a similar 
face. But there was a difference. The eyes of this old 
man were closed in the perpetual dark of the blind. Never 
could he behold a windmill at which to tilt. 

He sat, while the pretty mestizo, read to him, listening 
and brooding, for all the world in the pose of Bodin's 
" Thinker." Nor was he a dreamer, nor a tilter of wind- 
mills, like Don Quixote. Despite his blindness, that ever 
veiled the apparent face of the world in invisibility, he was 
a man of action, and his soul was anything but blind, pene- 
trating unerringly beneath the show of things to the heart 
and the soul of the world and reading its inmost sins and 
rapacities and noblenesses and virtues. 

He lifted his hand and put a pause in the reading, while 
he thought aloud from the context of the reading. 

"The law of man," he said with slow certitude, "is 
to-day a game of wits. Not equity, but wit, is the game of 
law to-day. The law in its inception was good; but the way 
of the law, the practice of it, has led men off into false 
pursuits. They have mistaken the way for the goal, the 
means for the end. Yet is law law, and necessary, and 

food. Only, law, in its practice to-day, has gone astray, 
udges and lawyers engage in competitions and affrays of 
wit and learning, quite forgetting the plaintiffs and defend- 
ants, before them and paying them, who are seeking equity 
and justice and not wit and learning. 

" Yet is old Blackstone right. Under it all, at the bottom 
of it all, at the beginning of the building of the edifice of the 
law, is the quest, the earnest and sincere quest of righteous 
men, for justice and equity. But what is it that the Preacher 
said? ' They made themselves many inventions.' And the 
law, good in its beginning, has been invented out of all its 
intent, so that it serves neither litigants nor injured ones, 
but merely the fatted judges and the lean and hungry 
lawyers who achieve names and paunches if they prove 
themselves cleverer than their opponents and than the 
judges who render decision." 

He paused, still posed as Bodin's " Thinker," and medi- 
tated, while the mestizo, woman waited his customary signal 
to resume the reading. At last, as out of a profound of 



HEARTS OF THREE 101 

thought in which universes had been weighed in the balance, 
he spoke : 

" But we have law, here in the Cordilleras of Panama, 
that is just and right and all of equity. We work for no 
man and serve not even paunches. Sack-cloth and not 
broadcloth conduces to the equity of judicial decision. Eead 
on, Mercedes. Blackstone is always right if always rightly 
read which is what is called a paradox, and is what modern 
law ordinarily is, a paradox. Bead on. Blackstone is the 
very foundation of human law but, oh, how many wrongs 
are cleverly committed by clever men in his name ! ' ' 

Ten minutes later, the blind thinker raised his head, 
sniffed the air, and gestured the girl to pause. Taking her 
cue from him, she, too, sniffed : 

" Perhaps it is the lamp, Just One," she suggested. 

"It is burning oil," he said. " But it is not the lamp. 
It is from far away. Also, have I heard shooting in the 
canyons. ' ' 

" I heard nothing " she began. 

" Daughter, you who see have not the need to hear that 
I have. There have been many shots fired in the canyons. 
Order my children to investigate and make report. ' ' 

Bowing reverently to the old man who could not see but 
who, by keen-trained hearing and conscious timing of her 
every muscular action, knew that she had bowed, the young 
woman lifted the curtain of blankets and passed out into the 
day. At either side the cave-mouth sat a man of the peon 
class. Each was armed with rifle and machete, while 
through their girdles were thrust naked-bladed knives. At 
the girl's order, both arose and bowed, not to her, but to the 
command and the invisible source of the command. One of 
them tapped with the back of his machete against the stone 
upon which he had been sitting, then laid his ear to the 
stone and listened. In truth, the stone was but the out- jut 
of a vein of metalliferous ore that extended across and 
through the heart of the mountain. And beyond, on the 
opposite slope, in an eyrie commanding the magnificent 
panorama of the descending slopes of the Cordilleras, sat 
another peon who first listened with his ear pressed to 
similar metalliferous quartz, and next tapped response with 
his machete. After that, he stepped half a dozen paces to 
a tall tree, half-dead, reached into the hollow heart of it, 
and pulled on the rope within as a man might pull who was 
ringing a steeple bell. 

H 



102 HEAETS OF THEEE 

But no sound was evoked. Instead, a lofty branch, fifty 
feet above his head, sticking out from the main-trunk like a 
semaphore arm, moved up and down like the semaphore arm 
it was. Two miles away, on a mountain crest, the branch of 
a similar semaphore tree replied. Still beyond that, and 
farther down the slopes, the flashing of a hand-mirror in the 
sun heliographed the relaying of the blind man's message 
from the cave. And all that portion of the Cordilleras 
became voluble with coded speech of vibrating ore-veins, 
sun-flashings, and waving tree-branches. 

While Enrico Sola-no, slenderly erect on his horse as an 
Indian youth and convoyed on either side by his sons, 
Alesandro and Kicardo, hanging to his saddle trappings, 
made the best of the time afforded them by Francis' rear- 
guard battle with the gendarmes, Leoncia, on her mount, 
and Henry Morgan, lagged behind. One or the other was 
continually glancing back for the sight of Francis overtaking 
them. Watching his opportunity, Henry took the back- 
trail. Five minutes afterward, Leoncia, no less anxious 
than he for Francis' safety, tried to turn her horse about. 
But the animal, eager for the companionship of its mate 
ahead, refused to obey the rein, cut up and pranced, and 
then deliberately settled into a balk. Dismounting and 
throwing her reins on the ground in the Panamanian method 
of tethering a saddle horse, Leoncia took the back trail on 
foot. So rapidly did she follow Henry, that she was almost 
treading on his heels when he encountered Francis and the 
peon. The next moment, both Henry and Francis were 
chiding her for her conduct; but in both their voices was the 
involuntary tenderness of love, which pleased neither to hear 
the other uttering. 

Their hearts more active than their heads, they were 
caught in total surprise by the party of haciendados that 
dashed out upon them with covering rifles from the sur- 
rounding jungle. Despite the fact that they had thus 
captured the runaway peon, whom they proceeded to kick 
and cuff, all would have been well with Leoncia and the two 
Morgans had the owner of the peon, the old-time friend of 
the Solano family, been present. But an attack of the 
malarial fever, which was his due every third day, had 
stretched him out in a chill near the burning oilfield. 

Nevertheless, though by their blows they reduced the peon 
to weepings and pleadings on his knees, the haciendados were 



HEARTS OF THREE 103 

courteously gentle to Leoncia and quite decent to Francis 
and Henry, even though they tied the hands of the latter 
two behind them in preparation for the march up the ravine 
slope to where the horses had been left. But upon the 
peon, with Latin-American cruelty, they continued to 
reiterate their rage. 

Yet were they destined to arrive nowhere, by themselves, 
with their captives. Shouts of joy heralded the debouch- 
ment upon the scene of the Jefe's gendarmes and of the Jefe 
and Alvarez Torres. Arose at once the rapid-fire, staccato, 
bastard-Latin of all men of both parties of pursuers, trying 
to explain and demanding explanation at one and the same 
time. And while the farrago of all talking simultaneously 
and of no one winning anywhere in understanding, made 
anarchy of speech, Torres, with a nod to Francis and a sneer 
of triumph to Henry, ranged before Leoncia and bowed low 
to her in true and deep hidalgo courtesy and respect. 

" Listen!" he said, low-voiced, as she rebuffed him with 
an arm movement of repulsion. " Do not misunderstand 
me. Do not mistake me. I am here to save you, and, no 
matter what may happen, to protect you. You are the lady 
of my dreams. I will die for you yes, and gladly, though 
far more gladly would I live for you." 

" I do not understand," she replied curtly. " I do not 
see life or death in the issue. We have done no wrong. I 
have done no wrong, nor has my father. Nor has Francis 
Morgan, nor has Henry Morgan. Therefore, sir, the matter 
is not a question of life or death." 

Henry and Francis, shouldering close to Leoncia, on either 
side, listened and caught through the hubble-bubble of many 
voices the conversation of Leoncia and Torres. 

" It is a question absolute of certain death by execution 
for Henry Morgan," Torres persisted. "Proven beyond 
doubt is his conviction for the murder of Alfaro Solano, who 
was your own full-blood uncle and your father's own full- 
blood brother. There is no chance to save Henry Morgan. 
But Francis Morgan can I save in all surety, if " 

" If?" Leoncia queried, with almost the snap of jaws of 
a she-leopard. 

"If . . . you prove kind to me, and marry me," Torres 
said with magnificent steadiness, although two Gringos, 
helpless, their hands tied behind then* backs, glared at him 
through their eyes their common desire for his immediate 
extinction. 



104 HEARTS OF THEEE 

Torres, in a genuine outburst of his passion, though his 
rapid glances had assured him of the helplessness of the two 
Morgans, seized her hands in his and urged : 

" Leoncia, as your husband I might be able to do some- 
thing for Henry. Even may it be jpossible for me to save 
his life and his neck, if he will yield to leaving Panama 
immediately." 

"You Spanish dog!" Henry snarled at him, struggling 
with his tied hands behind his back in an effort to free them. 

" Gringo cur!" Torres retorted, as, with an open back- 
handed blow, he struck Henry on the mouth. 

On the instant Henry's foot shot out, and the kick in 
Torres' side drove him staggering in the direction of Francis, 
who was no less quick with a kick of his own. Back and 
forth like a shuttlecock between the battledores, Torres was 
kicked from one man to the other, until the gendarmes 
seized the two Gringos and began to beat them in their 
helplessness. Torres not only urged the gendarmes on, but 
himself drew a knife; and a red tragedy might have hap- 
pened with offended Latin-American blood up and raging, 
had not a score or more of armed men silently appeared and 
silently taken charge of the situation. Some of the myste- 
rious newcomers were clad in cotton singlets and trousers, 
and others were in cowled gabardines of sackcloth. 

The gendarmes and haciendados recoiled in fear, crossing 
themselves, muttering prayers and ejaculating: " The Blind 
Brigand ! " "The Cruel Just One ! " ' They are his people I ' ' 
" We are lost." 

But the much-beaten peon sprang forward and fell on his 
bleeding knees before a stern-faced man who appeared to be 
the leader of the Blind Brigand's men. From the mouth of 
the peon poured forth a stream of loud lamentation and 
outcry for justice. 

" You know that justice to which you appeal?" the 
leader spoke gutturally. 

" Yes, the Cruel Justice," the peon replied. " I know 
what it means to appeal to the Cruel Justice, yet do I 
appeal, for I seek justice and my cause is just." 

"I, too, demand the Cruel Justice!" Leoncia cried with 
flashing eyes, although she added in an undertone to Francis 
and Henry: " Whatever the Cruel Justice is." 

" It will have to go some to be unfairer than the justice 
we can expect from Torres and the Jefe," Henry replied in 
similar undertones, then stepped forward boldly before the 



HEARTS OF THEEE 105 

cowled leader and said loudly: " And I demand the Cruel 
Justice." 

The leader nodded. 

" Me, too," Francis murmured low, and then made loud 
demand. 

The gendarmes did not seem to count in the matter, while 
the haciendados signified their willingness to abide by what- 
ever justice the Blind Brigand might mete out to them. 
Only the Jefe objected. 

" Maybe you don't know who I am," he blustered. " I 
am Mariano Vercara e Hijos, of long illustrious name and 
long and honorable career. I am Jefe Politico of San 
Antonio, the highest friend of the governor, and high in the 
confidence of the government of the Republic of Panama. 
I am the law. There is but one law and one justice, which 
is of Panama and not the Cordilleras. I protest against this 
mountain law you call the Cruel Justice. I shall send an 
army against your Blind Brigand, and the buzzards will 
peck his bones in San Juan." 

" Remember," Torres sarcastically warned the irate Jefe, 
" that this is not San Antonio, but the bush of Juchitan. 
Also, you have no army." 

" Have these two men been unjust to any one who has 
appealed to the Cruel Justice?" the leader asked abruptly. 

" Yes," asseverated the peon. " They have beaten me. 
Everybody has beaten me. They, too, have beaten me and 
without cause. My hand is bloody. My body is bruised 
and torn. Again I appeal to the Cruel Justice, and I 
charge these two men with injustice." 

The leader nodded and to his own men indicated the 
disarming of the prisoners and the order of the march. 

"Justice! I demand equal justice!" Henry cried out. 
" My hands are tied behind my back. All hands should be 
so tied, or no hands be so tied. Besides, it is very difficult 
to walk when one is so tied. 

The shadow of a smile drifted the lips of the leader as 
he directed his men to cut the lashings that invidiously 
advertised the inequality complained of. 

"Huh!" Francis grinned to Leoncia and Henry. "I 
have a vague memory that somewhere around a million years 
ago I used to live in a quiet little old burg called New York, 
where we foolishly thought we were the wildest and 
wickedest that ever cracked at a golf ball, electrocuted an 



106 HEARTS OF THREE 

Inspector of Police, battled with Tammany, or bid four 
nullos with five sure tricks in one's own hand." 

"Huh!" Henry vouchsafed half an hour later, as the 
trail, from a lesser crest, afforded a view of higher crests 
beyond. " Huh ! and hell's bells ! These gunny-sack chaps 
are not animals of savages. Look, Henry ! They are 
semaphoring ! See that near tree there, and that big one 
across the canyon. Watch the branches wave." 

Blindfold for a number of miles at the last, the prisoners, 
still blindfolded, were led into the cave where the Cruel 
Justice reigned. When the bandages were removed, they 
found themselves hi a vast and lofty cavern, lighted by many 
torches, and, confronting them, a blind and white-haired 
man in sackcloth seated on a rock-hewn throne, with, be- 
neath him, her shoulder at his knees, a pretty mestiza 
woman. 

The blind man spoke, and in his voice was the thin and 
bell-like silver of age and weary wisdom. 

"The Cruel Justice has been invoked. Speak! Who 
demands decision and equity?" 

All held back, and not even the Jefe could summon heart 
of courage to protest against Cordilleras law. 

" There is a woman present," continued the Blind Bri- 
gand. " Let her speak first. All mortal men and women 
are guilty of something or else are charged by their fellows 
with some guilt." 

Henry and Francis were for withstraining her, but with 
an equal smile to them she addressed the Cruel Just One in 
clear and ringing tones : 

' ' I only have aided the man I am engaged to marry to 
escape from death for a murder he did not commit." 

"You have spoken," said the Blind Brigand. " Come 
forward to me." 

Piloted by sackcloth men, while the two Morgans who 
loved her were restless and perturbed, she was made to 
kneel at the blind man's knees. The mestiza girl placed his 
hand on Leoncia's head. For a full and solemn minute 
silence obtained, while the steady fingers of the Blind One 
rested about her forehead and registered the pulse-beats of 
her temples. Then he removed his hand and leaned back 
to decision. 

" Arise, Senorita," he pronounced. " Your heart is clean 



HEAETS OF THREE 107 

of evil. You go free. Who else appeals to the Cruel 
Justice?" 

Francis immediately stepped forward. 

" I likewise helped the man to escape from an undeserved 
death. The man and I are of the same name, and, dis- 
tantly, of the same blood." 

He, too, knelt, and felt the soft finger-lobes play delicately 
over his brows and temples and come to rest finally on the 
pulse of his wrist. 

" It is not all clear to me," said the Blind One. " You 
are not at rest nor at peace with your soul. There is trouble 
within you that vexes you." 

Suddenly the peon stepped forth and spoke unbidden, his 
voice evoking a thrill as of the shock of blasphemy from the 
sackcloth men. 

" Oh, Just One, let this man go," said the peon passion- 
ately. " Twice was I weak and betrayed him to his enemy 
this day, and twice this day has he protected me from my 
enemy and saved me." 

And the peon, once again on his knees, but this time at 
the knees of justice, thrilled and shivered with superstitious 
awe, as he felt wander over him the light but firm finger- 
touches of the strangest judge man ever knelt before. 
Bruises and lacerations were swiftly explored even to the 
shoulders and down the back. 

" The other man goes free," the Cruel Just One an- 
nounced. ' Yet is there trouble and unrest within him. It 
one here who knows and will speak up?" 

And Francis knew on the instant the trouble the blind 
man had divined within him the full love that burned in 
him for Leoncia and that threatened to shatter the full 
loyalty he must ever bear to Henry. No less quick was 
Leoncia in knowing, and could the blind man have beheld 
the involuntary glance of knowledge the man and woman 
threw at each other and the immediate embarrassment of 
averted eyes, he could have unerringly diagnosed Francis' 
trouble. The mestiza girl saw, and with a leap at her heart 
scented a love affair. Likewise had Henry seen and un- 
consciously .scowled. 

The Just One spoke : 

" An affair of heart undoubtedly," he dismissed the mat- 
ter. ' The eternal vexation of woman In the heart of man. 
Nevertheless, this man stands free. Twice, in the one day, 
has he succored the man who twice betrayed him. Nor has 



108 HEARTS OF THREE 

the trouble within him aught to do with the aid he rendered 
the man said to be sentenced to death undeserved. Bemains 
to question this last man; also to settle for this beaten 
creature before me who twice this day has proved weak out 
of selfishness, and who has just now proved bravely strong 
out of unselfishness for another." 

He leaned forward and played his fingers searchingly over 
the face and brows of the peon. 

" Are you afraid to die?" he asked suddenly. 

" Great arid Holy One, I am sore afraid to die," was the 
peon's reply. 

" Then say that you have lied about this man, say that 
his twice succoring of you was a lie, and you shall live." 

Under the Blind One's fingers the peon cringed and wilted. 

"Think well," came the solemn warning. "Death is 
not good. To be forever unmoving, as the clod and rock, is 
not good. Say that you have lied and life is yours. Speak ! " 

But, although his voice shook from the exquisiteness of 
his fear, the peon rose to the full spiritual stature of a man. 

" Twice this day did I betray him, Holy One. But my 
name is not Peter. Not thrice in this day will I betray him. 
I am sore afraid, but I cannot betray him thrice." 

The blind judge leaned back and his face beamed and 
glowed as if transfigured. 

" Well spoken," he said. " You have the makings of a 
man. I now lay my sentence upon you : From now on, 
through all your days under the sun, you shall always think 
like a man, act like a man, be a man. Better to die a man 
any time, than live a beast forever in time. The Ecclesiast 
was wrong. A dead lion is always better than a live dog. 
Go free, regenerate son, go free." 

But, as the peon, at a signal from the mestiza, started to 
rise, the blind judge stopped him. 

" In the beginning, O man who but this day has been 
born man, what was the cause of all your troubles?" 

" My heart was weak and hungry, Holy One, for a 
mixed-breed woman of the tierra caliente. I myself am 
mountain born. For her I put myself in debt to the hacien- 
dado for the sum of two hundred pesos. She fled with the 
money and another man. I remained the slave of the 
haciendado, who is not a bad man,- but who, first and 
always, is a haciendado. I have toiled, been beaten, and 
have suffered for five long years, and my debt is now become 



HEARTS OF THREE 109 

two hundred and fifty pesos, and yet I possess naught but 
these rags and a body weak from insufficient food." 

" Was she wonderful? this woman of the tierra 
caliente?" the blind judge queried softly. 

" I was mad for her, Holy One. I do not think now 
that she was wonderful. But she was wonderful then. The 
fever of her burned my heart and brain and made a task- 
slave of me, though she fled in the night and I knew her 
never again." 

The peon waited, on his knees, with bowed head, while, 
to the amazement of all, the Blind Brigand sighed deeply 
and seemed to forget time and place. His hand strayed 
involuntarily and automatically to the head of the mestiza, 
caressed the shining black hair and continued to caress it 
while he spoke. 

" The woman," he said, with such gentleness that his 
voice, still clear and bell-like, was barely above a whisper. 
" Ever the woman wonderful. All women are wonderful 
... to man. They love our fathers; they birth us; we 
love them; they birth our sons to love their daughters and 
to call their daughters wonderful ; and this has always beefa 
and shall continue always to be until the end of man's time 
and man's loving on earth." 

A profound of silence fell within the cavern, while the 
Cruel Just One meditated for a space. At the last, with a 
touch dared of familiarity, the pretty mestiza touched him 
and roused him to remembrance of the peon still crouching 
at his feet. 

" I pronounce judgment," he spoke. ' You have re- 
ceived many blows. Each blow on your body is quittance in 
full of the entire debt to the haciendado. Go free. But 
remain in the mountains, and next time love a mountain 
woman, since woman you must have, and since woman is 
inevitable and eternal in the affairs of men. Go free. You 
are half Maya?" 

" I am half Maya," the peon murmured. " My father is 
a Maya." 

" Arise and go free. And remain in the mountains with 
your Maya father. The tierra caliente is no place for the 
Cordilleras-born. The haciendado is not present, and there- 
fore cannot be judged. And after all he is but a haciendado. 
His fellow haciendados, too, go free." 

The Cruel Just One waited, and, without \vaiting, Henry 
stepped forward. 



110 HEARTS OF THREE 

" I am the man," he stated boldly, " sentenced to the 
death undeserved for the killing of a man I did not kill. He 
was the blood-uncle of the girl I love, whom I shall marry 
if there be true justice here in this cave in the Cordilleras." 

But the Jefe interrupted. 

" Before a score of witnesses he threatened to his face to 
kill the man. Within the hour we found him bending over 
the man's dead body that was yet warm and limber with 
departing life." 

" He speaks true," Henry affirmed. " I did threaten the 
man, both of us heady from strong drink and hot blood. I 
was so found, bending over his dead warm body. Yet did 
I not kill him. Nor do I know, nor can I guess, the coward 
hand in the dark that knifed out his life through the back 
from behind." 

" Kneel both of you, that I may interrogate you," the 
Blind Brigand commanded. 

Long he interrogated with his sensitive, questioning fin- 
gers. Long, and still longer, unable to attain decision, his 
fingers played over the faces and pulses of the two men. 

" Is there a woman?" he asked Henry Morgan pointedly. 

" A woman wonderful. I love her." 

" It is good to be so vexed, for a man unvexed by woman 
is only half a man," the blind judge vouchsafed. He ad- 
dressed the Jefe. " No woman vexes you, yet are you 
troubled. But this man " indicating Henry " I cannot 
tell if all his vexation be due to woman. Perhaps, in part, 
it may be due to you, or to what some prompting of evil may 
make him meditate against you. Stand up, both men of 
you. I cannot judge between you. Yet is there the test 
infallible, the test of the Snake and the Bird. Infallible it 
is, as God is infallible, for by such ways does God still 
maintain truth in the affairs of men. As well does Black- 
stone mention just such methods of determining the truth 
by trial and ordeal." 



CHAPTEE XI 

To all intents it might have been a tiny bull-ring, that pit in 
the heart of the Blind Brigand's domain. Ten feet in depth 
and thirty in diameter, with level floor and perpendicular 
wall, its natural formation had required little work at the 
hands of man to complete its symmetry. The sackcloth 
men, the haciendados, the gendarmes all were present, save 
for the Cruel Just One and the mestiza, and all were lined 
about the rim of the pit, as an audience, to gaze down upon 
some bullfight or gladiatorial combat within the pit. 

At command of the stern-faced leader of the sackcloth 
men who had captured them, Henry and the Jefe descended 
down a short ladder into the pit. The leader and several of 
the brigands accompanied them. 

" Heaven alone knows what's going to happen," Henry 
laughed up in English to Leoncia and Francis. " But if it's 
rough and tumble, bite and gouge, or Marquis of Queensbury 
or London Prize Eing, Mister Fat Jefe is my meat. But 
that old blind one is clever, and the chances are he's going 
to put us at each other on some basis of evenness. In 
which case, do you, my audience, if he gets me down,, stick 
your thumbs up and make all the noise you can. Depend 
upon it, if it's he that's down, all his crowd will be thumbs 
up." 

The Jefe, overcome by the trap into which he had 
descended, in Spanish addressed the leader. 

" I shall not fight with this man. He is younger than I, 
and has better wind. Also, the affair is illegal. It is not 
according to the law of the Eepublic of Panama. It is 
extra-territorial and entirely unjudicial." 

" It is the Snake and the Bird," the leader shut him off. 
" You shall be the Snake. This rifle shall be in your hands. 
The other man shall be the Bird. In his hand shall be the 
bell. Behold! Thus may you understand the ordeal." 

At his command, one of the brigands was given the rifle 

111 



112 HEARTS OF THREE 

and was blindfolded. To another brigand, not blindfolded, 
was given a silver bell. 

" The man with the rifle is the Snake," said the leader. 
" He has one shot at the Bird who carries the bell." 

At signal to begin, the bandit with the bell, tinkled it at 
extended arm's length and sprang swiftly aside. The man 
with the rifle lowered it as if to fire at the space just vacated 
and pretended to fire. 

' You understand?" the leader demanded of Henry and 
the Jefe. 

The former nodded, but the latter cried exultantly : 

' And I am the Snake?" 

' ' You are the Snake, ' ' affirmed the leader. 

And the Jefe was eager for the rifle, making no further 
protests against the extra-territoriality of the proceedings. 

" Are you going to try to get me?" Henry warned the 
Jefe. 

" No, Senor Morgan. I am merely going to get you. I 
am one of the two best shots in Panama. I have two score 
and more of medals. I can shoot with my eyes shut. I 
can shoot in the dark. I have often shot, and with preci- 
sion, in the dark. Already may you count yourself a dead 
man." 

Only one cartridge was put into the rifle, ere it was handed 
to the Jefe after he was blindfolded. Next, while Henry, 
equipped with the tell-tale bell, was stationed directly across 
the pit, the Jefe was faced to the wall and kept there while 
the brigands climbed out of the pit and drew the ladder up 
after them. The leader, from above, spoke down: 

" Listen carefully, Senor Snake, and make no move until 
you have heard. The Snake has but one shot. The Snake 
cannot tamper with his blindfold. If he so tampers it is our 
duty to see that he immediately dies. The Snake has no 
time limit. He may take the rest of the day, and all of the 
night, and the remainder of eternity ere he fires his one shot. 
As for the Bird, the one rule is that never must the bell 
leave his hand, and never may he stop the clapper of it 
from making the full noise intended of the clapper against 
the sides of the bell. Should he do so, then will he imme- 
diately die. We are here above you, both of you Senors, 
rifles in hand, to see that you die the second you infract any 
of the rules. And now, God be with the right, proceed !" 

The Jefe turned slowly about and listened, while Henry, 
essaying gingerly to move with the bell, caused it to tinkle. 



HEARTS OF THREE 113 

The rifle was quick to bear upon the sound, and to pursue 
it as Henry ran. With a quick shift he transferred the bell 
to the other extended hand and ran back in the opposite 
direction, the rifle sweeping after him in inexorable pursuit. 
But the Jefe was too cunning to risk all on a chance shot, 
and slowly advanced across the arena. Henry stood still, 
and the bell made no sound. 

So unerringly had the Jefe's ear located the last silvery 
tinkle, and so straightly did he walk despite his blindfold, 
that he advanced just to the right of Henry and directly at 
the bell. With infinite caution, provoking no tinkle, Henry 
slightly raised his arm and permitted the Jefe's head to go 
under the bell with a bare inch of margin. 

His rifle pointed, and within a foot of the pit-wall, the 
Jefe halted in indecision, listened vainly for a moment, then 
made a further stride that collided the rifle muzzle with the 
wall. He whirled about, and, with the rifle extended, like 
any blind man felt out the air-space for his enemy. The 
muzzle would have touched Henry had he not sprung away 
on a noisy and zig-zag course. 

In the center of the pit he came to a frozen pause. The 
Jefe stalked past a yard to the side and collided with the 
opposite wall. He circled the wall, walking cat-footed, his 
rifle forever feeling out into the empty air. Next he ven- 
tured across the pit. After several such crossings, during 
which the stationary bell gave him no clue, he adopted a 
clever method. Tossing his hat on the ground for the mark 
of his starting point, he crossed the edge of the pit on a 
shallow chord, extended the chord by a pace farther along 
the wall, and felt his way back along the new and longer 
chord. Again against the wall, he verified the correctness 
of the parallelness of the two chords, by pacing back to his 
hat. This time, with three paces along the wall from the 
hat, he initiated his third chord. 

Thus he combed the area of the pit, and Henry saw that 
he could not escape such combing. Nor did he wait to be 
discovered. Tinkling the bell as he ran and zigzagged and 
exchanging it from one hand to the other, he froze into 
immobility in a new place. 

The Jefe repeated the laborious combing out process ; but 
Henry was not minded longer to prolong the tension. He 
waited till the Jefe's latest chord brought him directly upon 
him. He waited till the rifle muzzle, breast high, was 
within half a dozen inches of his heart. Then he exploded 



114 HEARTS OF THREE 

into two simultaneous actions. He ducked lower than the 
rifle and yelled " Fire!" in stentorian command. 

So startled, the Jefe pulled the trigger, and the bullet 
sped above Henry's head. From above, the sackcloth men 
applauded wildly. The Jefe tore off his blindfold and saw 
the smiling face of his foe. 

"It is well God has spoken," announced the sackcloth 
leader, as he descended into the pit. ' The man uninjured 
is innocent. Remains now to test the .other man." 

" Me?" the Jefe almost shouted in his surprise and con- 
sternation. 

" Greetings, Jefe," Henry grinned. " You did try to get 
me. It's my turn now. Pass over that rifle." 

But the Jefe, with a curse, in his disappointment and rage 
forgetting that the rifle had contained only one cartridge, 
thrust the muzzle against Henry's heart and pulled the 
trigger. The hammer fell with a metallic click. 

"It is well," said the leader, taking away the rifle and 
recharging it. " Your conduct shall be reported. The test 
for you remains, yet must it appear that you are no$ acting 
like God's chosen man." 

Like a beaten bull in the ring seeking a way to escape 
and gazing up at the amphitheatre of pitiless faces, so the 
Jefe looked up and saw only the rifles of the sackcloth men, 
the triumphing faces of Leoncia and Francis, the curious 
looks of his own gendarmes, and the blood-eager faces of 
the haciendados that were like the faces of any bull-fight 
audience. 

The shadowy smile drifted the stern lips of the leader as 
he handed the rifle to Henry and started to blindfold him. 

" Why don't you make him face the wall until I'm 
ready?" the Jefe demanded, as the silver bell tinkled in his 
passion-convulsed hand. 

" Because he is proven God's man," was the reply. " He 
has stood the test. Therefore he cannot do a treacherous 
deed. You now must stand the test of God. If you are 
true and honest, no harm can befall you from the Snake. 
For such is God's way." 

Far more successful as the hunter than as the hunted one, 
did the Jefe prove. Across the pit from Henry, he strove 
to stand motionless; but out of nervousness, as Henry's 
rifle swept around on him, his hand trembled and the bell 
tinkled. The rifle came almost to rest and wavered omin- 



HEAETS OF THREE 115 

ously about the sound. In vain the Jefe tried to control his 
flesh and still the bell. 

But the bell tinkled on, and, in despair, he flung it away 
and threw himself on the ground. But Henry, following 
the sound of his enemy's fall, lowered the rifle and pulled 
trigger. The Jefe yelled out in sharp pain as the bullet 
perforated his shoulder, rose to his feet, cursed, sprawled 
back on the ground, and lay there cursing. 

Again in the cave, with the mestiza beside him at his 
knee, the Blind Brigand gave judgment. 

" This man who is wounded and who talks much of the 
law of the tierra caliente, shall now learn Cordilleras law. 
By the test of the Snake and the Bird has he been proven 
guilty. For his life a ransom of ten thousand dollars gold 
shall be paid, or else shall he remain here, a hewer of wood 
and a carrier of water, for the remainder of the time God 
shall grant him to draw breath on earth. I have spoken, 
and I know that my voice is God's voice, and I know that 
God will not grant him long to draw breath if the ransom be 
not forthcoming." 

A long silence obtained, during which even Henry, who 
could slay a foe in the heat of combat, advertised that such 
cold-blooded promise of murder was repugnant to him. 

" The law is pitiless," said the Cruel Just One; and again 
silence fell. 

" Let him die for want of a ransom," spoke one of the 
haciendados. " He has proved a treacherous dog. Let 
him die a dog's death." 

' What say you?" the Blind Brigand asked solemnly. 

' What say you, peon of the many beatings, man new-born 

this day, half-Maya that you are and lover of the woman 

wonderful? Shall this man die the dog's death for want of 

a ransom?" 

' This man is a hard man," spoke the peon. ' Yet is my 
heart strangely soft this day. Had I ten thousand gold I 
would pay his ransom myself. Yea, O Holy One and Just, 
and had I two hundred and fifty pesos, even would I pay off 
my debt to the haciendado of which I am absolved." 
The old man's blind face lighted up to transfiguration. 

' You, too, speak with God's voice this day, regenerate 
one," he approved. 

But Francis, who had been scribbling hurriedly in his 



116 HEARTS OF THREE 

check book, handed a check, still wet with the ink, to the 
mestiza. 

"I, too, speak," he said. "Let not the man die the 
dog's death he deserves, proven treacherous hound that he 
is." 

The mestiza read the check aloud. 

" It is not necessary to explain," the Blind Brigand shut 
Francis off. " I am a creature of reason, and hare not lived 
always in the Cordilleras. I was trained in business in 
Barcelona. I know the Chemical National Bank of New 
York, and through my agents have had dealings with it 
aforetime. The sum is for ten thousand dollars gold. This 
man who writes it has told the truth already this day. The 
check is good. Further, I know he will not stop payment. 
This man who thus pays the ransom of a foe is one of three 
things : a very good man ; a fool ; or a very rich man. Tell 
me, Man, is there a woman wonderful?" 

And Francis, not daring to glance to right or left, at 
Leoncia or Henry, but gazing straight before him on the 
Blind Brigand's face, answered because he felt he must so 
answer : 

11 Yes, Cruel Just One, there is a woman wonderful." 



CHAPTER XII 

AT the precise spot where they had been first blindfolded by 
the sackcloth men, the cavalcade halted. It was composed 
of a number of the sackcloth men; of Leoncia, Henry, and 
Francis, blindfolded and mounted on mules; and of the 
peon, blindfolded and on foot. Similarly escorted, the 
haciendados, and the Jefe and Torres with their gendarmes, 
had preceded by half an hour. 

At permission given by the stern-faced leader, the cap- 
tives, about to be released, removed their blindfolds. 

" Seems I've been here before," Henry laughed, looking 
about and identifying the place. 

" Seems the oil-wells are still burning," Francis said, 
pointing out half the field of day that was eaten up by the 
black smoke-pall. " Peon, look upon your handiwork. For 
a man who possesses nothing, you are the biggest spender 
I ever met. I have heard of drunken oil-kings lighting 
cigars with thousand dollar bank-notes, but hero are you 
burning up a million dollars a minute. 

" I am not a poor man," the peon boasted in proud 
mysteriousness. 

" A millionaire in disguise!" Henry twitted. 

" Where do you deposit?" was Leoncia 's contribution. 
" In the Chemical National Bank?" 

The peon did not understand the allusions, but knew that 
he was being made fun of, and drew himself up in proud 
silence. 

The stern leader spoke : 

" From this point you may now go your various ways. 
The Just One has so commanded. You, senors, will dis- 
mount and turn over to me your mules. As for the senorita, 
she may retain her mule as a present from the Just One, 
who would not care to be responsible for compelling any 
senorita to walk. The two senors, without hardship, may 
walk. Especially has the Just One recommended walking 



118 HEARTS OF THEEE 

for the rich senor. The possession of riches, he advised, 
leads to too little walking. Too little walking leads to 
stoutness; and stoutness does not lead to the woman won- 
derful. Such is the wisdom of the Just One. 

" Further, he has repeated his advice to the peon to 
remain in the mountains. In the mountains he will find 
his woman wonderful, since woman he must have ; and it is 
wisest that such woman be of his own breed. The woman 
of the tierra caliente are for the men of the tierra caliente. 
The Cordilleras women are for the Cordilleras men. God 
dislikes mixed breeds. A mule is abhorrent under the sun. 
The world was not intended for mixed breeds, but man has 
made for himself many inventions. Pure races interbred 
leads to impurity. Neither will oil nor water congenially 
intermingle. Since kind begets kind, only kind should mate. 
Such are the words of the Just One which I have repeated as 
commanded. And he has especially impressed upon me to 
add that he knows whereof he speaks, for he, too, has sinned 
in just such ways." 

And Henry and Francis, of Anglo-Saxon stock, and 
Leoncia of the Latin, knew perturbation and embarrassment 
as the vicarious judgment of the Blind Brigand sank home. 
And Leoncia, with her splendid eyes of woman, would have 
appealed protest to either man she loved, had the other been 
absent; while both Henry and Francis would have voiced 
protest to Leoncia had either of them been alone with her. 
And yet, under it all, deep down, uncannily, was a sense of 
the correctness of the Blind Brigand's thought. And heavily, 
on the heart of each, rested the burden of the conscious 
oppression of sin. 

A crashing and scrambling in the brush diverted their 
train of thought, as descending the canyon slope on desper- 
ately slipping and sliding horses, appeared on the scene the 
haciendado with several followers. His greeting of the 
daughter of the Solanos was hidalgo-like and profound, and 
only less was the heartiness of his greeting to the two men 
for whom Enrico Solano had stood sponsor. 

" Where is your noble father?" he asked Leoncia. " I 
have good news for him. In the week since I last saw you, 
I have been sick with fever and encamped. But by swift 
messengers, and favoring winds across Chiriqui Lagoon to 
Bocas del Toro, I have used the government wireless the 
Jefe of Bocas del Toro is my friend and have communi- 
cated with the President of Panama who is my ancient 



HEARTS OF THREE 119 

comrade whose nose I rubbed as often in the dirt as did he 
mine in the boyhood days when we were schoolmates and 
cubicle-mates together at Colon. And the word has come 
back that all is well; that justice has miscarried in the court 
at San Antonio from the too great but none the less worthy 
zeal of the Jefe Politico ; and that all is forgiven, pardoned, 
and forever legally and politically forgotten against all of the 
noble Solano family and their two noble Gringo friends " 

Here, the haciendado bowed low to Henry and Francis. 
And here, skulking behind Leoncia's uncle, his eyes chanced 
to light on the peon; and, so lighting, his eyes blazed with 
triumph. 

"Mother of God, fhou has net forgotten me!" he 
breathed fervently, then turned to the several friends who 
accompanied him. " There he is, the creature without 
reason or shame who has fled his debt of me. Seize him ! 
I shall put him on his back for a month from the beating he 
shall receive !" 

So speaking, the haciendado sprang around the rump of 
Leoncia's mule; and the peon, ducking under the mule's 
nose, would have won to the freedom of the jungle, had not 
another of the haciendados, with quick spurs to his horse's 
sides, cut him off and run him down. In a trice, used to 
just such work, the haciendados had the luckless wight on 
his feet, his hands tied behind him, a lead-rope made fast 
around his neck. 

In one voice Francis and Henry protested. 

" Senors," the haciendado replied, " my respect and con- 
sideration and desire to serve you are as deep as for the 
noble Solano family under whose protection you are. Your 
safety and comfort are sacred to me. I will defend you from 
harm with my life. I am yours to command. My hacienda 
is yours, likewise all T possess. But this matter of this 
peon is entirely another matter. He is none of yours. He 
is my peon, in my debt, who has run away from my 
hacienda. You will understand and forgive me, I trust. 
This is a mere matter of property. He is my property." 

Henry and Francis glanced at each other in mutual per- 
plexity and indecision. It was the law of the land, as they 
thoroughly knew. 

" The Cruel Just One did remit my debt, as all here will 
witness," the peon whispered. 

" It is true, the Cruel Justice remitted his debt," Leoncia 
verified. 



120 HEAETS OF THREE 

The haciendado smiled and bowed low. 

" But the peon contracted with me," he smiled. " And 
who is the Blind Brigand that his foolish law shall operate 
on my plantation and rob me of my rightful two hundred 
and fifty pesos?" 

" He's right, Leoncia," Henry admitted. 

" Then will I go back to the high Cordilleras," the peon 
asserted. " Oh, you men of the Cruel Just One, take me 
back to the Cordilleras." 

But the stern leader shook his head. 

" Here you were released. Our orders went no further. 
No further jurisdiction have we over you. We shall now 
bid farewell and depart." 

"Hold on!" Francis cried, pulling out his check book 
and beginning to write. " Wait a moment. I must settle 
for this peon now. Next, before you depart, I have a favor 
to ask of you." 

He passed the check to the haciendado, saying : 

" I have allowed ten pesos for the exchange." 

The haciendado glanced at the .check, folded it away in 
his pocket, and placed the end of the rope around the 
wretched creature's neck in Francis' hand. 

" The peon is now yours," he said. 

Francis looked at the rope and laughed. 

" Behold! I now own a human chattel. Slave, you 
are mine, my property now, do you understand?" 

' Yes, Senor," the peon muttered humbly. " It seems, 
when I became mad for the woman I gave up my freedom 
for, that God destined me always afterward to- be the 
property of some man. The Cruel Just One is right. It 
is God's punishment for mating outside my race." 

" You made a slave of yourself for what the world has 
always considered the best of all causes, a woman," 
Francis observed, cutting the thongs that bound the peon's 
hands. " And so, I make a present of you to yourself." 
So saying, he placed the neck-rope in the peon's hand. 
" Henceforth, lead yourself, and put not that rope in any 
man's hand." 

While the foregoing had been taking place, a lean old 
man, on foot, had noiselessly joined the circle. Maya 
Indian he was, pure-blooded, with ribs that corrugated 
plainly through his parchment -like skin. Only a breech- 
clout covered his nakedness. His unkempt hair hung in 
dirty -gray tangles about his face, which was high-cheeked, 



HEARTS OF THREE 121 

and emaciated to cadaverousness. Strings of muscles 
showed for his calves and biceps. A few scattered snags 
of teeth were visible between his withered lips. The hollows 
under his cheek-bones were prodigious. While his eyes, 
beads of black, deep-sunk in their sockets, burned with the 
wild light of a patient in fever. 

He slipped eel-like through the circle and clasped the 
peon in his skeleton-like arms. 

" He is my father," proclaimed the peon proudly. 
" Look at him. He is pure Maya, and he knows the 
secrets of the Mayas." 

And while the two re-united ones talked endless explana- 
tions, Francis preferred his request to the sackcloth leader 
to find Enrico Solano and his two sons, wandering some- 
where in the mountains, and to tell them that they were 
free of all claims of the law and to return home. 

" They have done no wrong?" the leader demanded. 
" No; they have done no wrong," Francis assured him. 
' Then it is well. I promise you to find them imme- 
diately, for we know the direction of their wandering, and 
to send them down to the coast to join you." 

" And in the meantime shall you be my guests while 
you wait," the haciendado invited eagerly. " There is a 
freight schooner at anchor in Juchitan Inlet now oS my 
plantation, and sailing for San Antonio. I can hold her 
until the noble Enrico and his sons come down from the 
Cordilleras." 

" And Francis will pay the demurrage, of course," Henry 
interpolated with a sly sting that Leoncia caught, although 
it missed Francis, who cried joyously : 

" Of course I will. And it proves my contention that a 
checkbook is pretty good to have anywhere." 

To their surprise, when they had parted from the sack- 
cloth men, the peon and his Indian father attached them- 
selves to the Morgans, and journeyed down through the 
burning oil-fields to the plantation which had been the scene 
of the peon's slavery. Both father and son were un- 
remitting in their devotion, first of all to Francis, and, next, 
to Leoncia and Henry. More than once they noted father 
and sen in long and earnest conversations; and, after Enrico 
and his sons had arrived, when the party went down to 
the beach to board the waiting schooner, the peon and 
his Maya parent followed along. Francis essayed to say 



122 HEARTS OF THREE 

farewell to them on the beach, but the peon stated that 
the pair of them were likewise journeying on the schooner. 

' ' I have told you that I was not a poor man, ' ' the peon 
explained, after they had drawn the party aside from the 
waiting sailors. ' This is true. The hidden treasure of 
the Mayas, which the conquistadores and the priests of the 
Inquisition could never find, is in my keeping. Or, to be 
very true, is in my father's keeping. He is the descendant, 
in the straight line, from the ancient high priest of the 
Mayas. He is the last high priest. He and I have talked 
much and long. And we are agreed that riches do not 
make life. You bought me for two hundred and fifty pesos, 
yet you made me free, gave me back to myself. The gift 
of a man's life is greater than all the treasure in the world. 
So are we agreed, my father and I. And so, since it is the 
way of Gringos and Spaniards to desire treasure, we will 
lead you to the Maya treasure, my father and I, my father 
knowing the way. And the way into the mountains begins 
from San Antonio and not from Juchitan." 

" Does your father know the location of the treasure? 
just where it is?" Henry demanded, with an aside to 
Francis that this was the very Maya treasure that had led 
him to abandon the quest for Morgan's gold on the Calf 
and to take to the mainland. 

The peon shook his head. 

" My father has never been to it. He was not interested 
in it, caring not for wealth for himself. Father, bring forth 
the tale written in our ancient language which you alone of 
living Mayas can read." 

From within his loin-cloth the old man drew forth a 
dirty and much-frayed canvas bag. Out ot this he pulled 
what looked like a snarl of knotted strings. But the strings 
were twisted sennit of some fibrous forest bark, so ancient 
that they threatened to crumble as he handled them, while 
from under the touch and manipulation of his fingers a fine 
powder of decay arose. Muttering and mumbling prayers 
in the ancient Maya tongue, he held up the snarl of knots, 
and bowed reverently before it ere he shook it out. 

" The knot-writing, the lost written language of the 
Mayas," Henry breathed softly. " This is the real thing, 
if only the old geezer hasn't forgotten how to read it." 

All heads bent curiously toward it as it was handed to 
Francis. It was in the form of a crude tassel, composed 
of many thin, long strings. Not alone were the knots, and 



HEAETS OF THREE 123 

various kinds of knots, tied at irregular intervals in the 
strings, but the strings themselves were of varying lengths 
and diameters. He ran them through his fingers, mumbling 
and muttering. 

"He reads!" cried the peon triumphantly. "All our 
old language is there in those knots, and he reads them 
as any man may read a book." 

Bending closer to observe, Francis and Leoncia's hair 
touched, and, in the thrill of the immediately broken con- 
tact, their eyes met, producing the second thrill as they 
separated. But Henry, all eagerness, did not observe. He 
had eyes only for the mystic tassel. 

" What d'you say, Francis?" he murmured. " It's big! 
It's big!" 

" But New York is beginning to call," Francis demurred. 
" Oh, not its people and its fun, but its business," he 
added hastily, as he sensed Leoncia's unuttered reproach 
and hurt. " Don't forget, I'm mixed up in Tampico Petro- 
leum and the stock market, and I hate to think how many 
millions are involved." 

" Hell's bells!" Henry ejaculated. " The Maya treasure, 
if a tithe of what they say about its immensity be true, 
could be cut three ways between Enrico, you and me, and 
make each of us richer than you are now. ' ' 

Still Francis was undecided, and, while Enrico expanded 
on the authenticity of the treasure, Leoncia managed to 
query in an undertone in Francis' ear: 

" Have you so soon tired of ... of treasure-hunting?" 

He looked at her keenly, and down at her engagement 
ring, as he answered in the same low tones : 

" How can I stay longer in this country, loving you as 
I do, while you love Henry?" 

It was the first time he had openly avowed his love, and 
Leoncia knew the swift surge of joy, followed by the no 
less swift surge of mantling shame that she, a woman who 
had always esteemed herself good, could love two men 
at the same time. She glanced at Henry, as if to verify 
her heart, and her heart answered yes. As truly did she 
love Henry as she did Francis, and the emotion seemed 
similar where the two were similar, different where they 
were different. 

" I'm afraid I'll have to connect up with the Angeliquc, 
most likely at Bocas del Toro, and get away," Francis told 



124 HEARTS OF THEEE 

Henry. ' You and Enrico can find the treasure and split 
it two ways." 

But the peon, having heard, broke into quick speech 
with his father, and, next, with Henry. 

;< You hear what he says, Francis," the latter said, 
holding up the sacred tassel. " You've got to go with 'us. 
It is you he feels grateful to for his son. He isn't giving 
the treasure to us, but to you. And if you don't go, be 
won't read a knot of the writing." 

But it was Leoncia, looking at Francis with quiet wist- 
fulness of pleading, seeming all but to say, " Please, for 
my sake," who really caused Francis to reverse his decision. 




CHAPTER XIII 

A WEEK later, out of San Antonio on a single day, three 
separate expeditions started for the Cordilleras. The 
first, mounted on mules, was composed of Henry, Francis, 
the peon and his ancient parent, and of several of the 
Solano peons, each leading a pack-mule, burdened with 
supplies and outfit. Old Enrico Solano, at the last moment, 
had been prevented from accompanying the party because 
of the bursting open of an old wound received hi the revolu- 
tionary fighting of his youth. 

Up the main street of San Antonio the cavalcade pro- 
ceeded, passing the jail, the wall of which Francis had 
dynamited, and which was only even then being tardily 
rebuilt by the Jefe's prisoners. Torres, sauntering down 
the street, the latest wire from Began tucked in his pocket, 
saw the Morgan outfit with surprise. 
' Whither away, senors?" he called. 

So spontaneous that it might have been rehearsed, Francis 
pointed to the sky, Henry straight down at the earth, the 
peon to the right, and his father to the left. The curse 
from Torres at such impoliteness, caused all to burst into 
laughter, in which the mule-peons joined as they rode along. 

Within the morning, at the time of the siesta hour, while 
all the town slept, Torres received a second surprise. This 
time it was the sight of Leoncia and her youngest brother, 
Ricardo, on mules', leading a third that was evidently 
loaded with a camping outfit. 

The third expedition was Torres' own, neither more nor 
less meager than Leoncia's, for it was composed only of 
himself and one, Jose Mancheno, a notorious murderer of 
the place whom Torres, for private reasons, had saved from 
the buzzards of San Juan. But Torres' plans, in the 
matter of an expedition, were more ambitious than they 
appeared. Not far up the slopes of the Cordilleras dwelt 
the strange tribe of the Caroos. Originally founded by ruri- 

125 



126 HEARTS OF THREE 

away negro slaves of Africa and Carib slaves of the Mosquito 
Coast, the renegades had perpetuated themselves with 
stolen women of the tierra caliente and with fled women 
slaves like themselves. Between the Mayas beyond, and 
the government of the coast, this unique colony had main- 
tained itself in semi-independence. Added to, in later days, 
by run-away Spanish prisoners, the Caroos had become a 
hotchpotch of, bloods and breeds, possessing a name and 
a taint so bad that the then governing power of Colombia, 
had it not been too occupied with its own particular political 
grafts, would have sent armies to destroy the pest-hole. 
And in this pest-hole of the Caroos Jose" Mancheno had 
been born of a Spanish -murderer father and a mestiza- 
murderess mother. And to this pest-hole Jose Mancheno 
was leading Torres in order that the commands of Thomas 
Kegan of Wall Street might be carried out. 



" Lucky we found him when we did," Francis told 
Henry, as they rode at the rear of the last Maya priest. 

" He's pretty senile," Henry nodded. " Look at him." 

The old man, as he led the way, was forever pulling out 
the sacred tassel and mumbling and muttering as he fingered 
it. 

" Hope the old gentleman doesn't wear it out," was 
Henry's fervent wish. " You'd think he'd read the direc- 
tions once and remember them for a little while instead of 
continually pawing them over." 

They rode out through the jungle into a clear space that 
looked as if at some time man had hewn down the jungle 
and fought it back. Beyond, by the vista afforded by the 
clearing, the mountain called Blanco Kovalo towered high 
in the sunny sky. The old Maya halted his mule, ran 
over certain strings in the tassel, pointed at the mountain, 
and spoke in broken Spanish : 

" It says: In the foot-steps of the God wait till the eyes 
of Chia flash." 

He indicated the particular knots of a particular string 
as the source of his information. 

" Where are the foot-steps, old priest?" Henry demanded, 
staring about him at the unbroken sward. 

But the old man started his mule, and, with a tattoo 
of bare heels on the creature's ribs, hastened it on across 
the clearing and into the jungle beyond. 



HEAETS OF THREE 127 

" He's like a hound on the scent, and it looks as if the 
scent is getting hot," Francis remarked. 

At the end of half a mile, where the jungle turned to 
grass-land on swift-rising slopes the old man forced his 
mule into a gallop which he maintained until he reached 
a natural depression in the ground. Three feet or more 
in depth, of area sufficient to accommodate a dozen persons 
in comfort, its form was strikingly like that which some 
colossal human foot could have made. 

"The foot-step of the God," the old priest proclaimed 
solemnly, ere he slid off his mule and prostrated himself in 
prayer. " In the foot-step of the God must we wait till 

the eyes of Chia flash so say the sacred knots." 

" Pretty good place for a meal," Henry vouchsafed, 
looking down into the depression. While waiting for the 
mumbo- jumbo foolery to come oft, we might as well stay 
our stomachs." 

"If Chia doesn't object," laughed Francis. 
And Chia did not object, at least the old priest could 
not find any objection written in the knots. 

While the mules were being tethered on the edge of the 
first break of woods, water, was fetched from a nearby 
spring and a fire built in the foot-step. The old Maya 
seemed oblivious of everything, as he mumbled endless 
prayers and ran the knots over and over. 

" If only he doesn't blow up," Francis said. 
" I thought he was wild-eyed the first day we met him 
up in Juchitan," concurred Henry. " But it's nothing 
to the way his eyes are now." 

Here spoke the peon, who, unable to understand a word 
of their English, nevertheless sensed the drift of it. 

" This is very religious, very dangerous, to have any- 
thing to do with the old Maya sacred things. It is the 
death-road. My father knows. Many men have died. 
The deaths are sudden and horrible. Even Maya priests 
have died. My father's father so died. He, too, loved 
a woman of the tierra caliente. And for love of her, for 
gold, he sold the Maya secret and by the knot-writing led 
tierra caliente men to the treasure. He died. They all 
died. My father does not like the women of the tierra 
caliente now that he is old. He liked them too well in 
his youth, which was his sin. And he knows the danger 
of leading you to the treasure. Many men have sought 
during the centuries. Of those who found it, not one 



128 HEAETS OF THREE 

came back. It is said that even conquist adores and pirates 
of the English Morgan have won to the hiding-place and 
decorated it with their bones." 

" And when your father dies," Francis queried, " then, 
being his son, you will be the Maya high priest?" 

' No, senor," the peon shook his head. " I am only 
half -May a. I cannot read the knots. My father did not 
teach me because I was not of the pure Maya blood." 

" And if he should die, right now, is there any other 
Maya who can read the knots?" 

" No, senor. My father is the last living man who 
knows that ancient language." 

But the conversation was broken in upon by Leoncia 
and Kicardo, who, having tethered their mules with the 
others, were gazing sheepishly down from the rim of the 
depression. The faces of Henry and Francis lighted with 
joy at the sight of Leoncia, while their mouths opened and 
their tongues articulated censure and scolding. Also, they 
insisted on her returning with Eicardo. 

" But you cannot send me away before giving me some- 
thing to eat," she persisted, slipping down the slope of 
the depression with pure feminine cunning in order to place 
the discussion on a closer and more intimate basis. 

Aroused by their voices, the old Maya came out of a 
trance of prayer and observed her with wrath. And in 
wrath he burst upon her, intermingling occasional Spanish 
words and phrases with the flood of denunciation in Maya. 

" He says that women are no good," the peon interpreted 
in the first pause. " He says women bring quarrels among 
men, the quick steel, the sudden death. Bad luck and 
God's wrath are ever upon them. Their ways are not 
God's ways, and they lead men to destruction. He says 
women are the eternal enemy of God and man, forever 
keeping God and man apart. He says women have ever 
cluttered the footsteps of God and have kept men away 
from travelling the path of God to God. He says this 
woman must go back." 

With laughing eyes, Francis whistled his appreciation 
of the diatribe, while Henry said : 

" Now will you be good, Leoncia? You see what a 
Maya thinks of your sex. This is no place for you. Cali- 
fornia's the place. Women vote there." 

" The trouble is that the old man is remembering the 
woman who brought misfortune upon him in the heyday of 



HEARTS OF THEEE 129 

his youth," Francis said. He turned to the peon. " Ask 
your father to read the knot-writing and see what it says 
for or against women traveling in the foot-steps of God." 

In vain the ancient high priest fumbled the sacred writing. 
There was not to be found the slightest authoritative objec- 
tion to woman. 

" He's mixing his own experiences up with his 
mythology," Francis grinned triumphantly. " So I guess 
it's pretty near all right, Leoncia, for you to stay for a 
bite to eat. The coffee's made. After that . . ."' 

But " after that " came before. Scarcely had they 
seated themselves on the ground and begun to eat, when 
Francis, standing up to serve Leoncia with tortillas, had 
his hat knocked off. 

" My word!" he said, sitting down. " That was sudden. 
Henry, take a squint and see who tried to pot-shoot me." 

The next moment, save for the peon's father, all eyes 
were peeping across the rim of the foot-step. What they 
saw, creeping upon them from every side, was a nondescript 
and bizarrely clad horde of men who seemed members of 
no particular race but composed of all races. The breeds 
of the entire human family seemed to have moulded their 
lineaments and vari-colored their skins. 

" The mangiest bunch I ever laid eyes on," was Francis' 
comment. 

'They are the Caroos," the peon muttered, betraying 
fear. 

" And who in " Francis began. Instantly he 

amended. "And who in Paradise are the Caroos?" 

" They come from hell," was the peon's answer. " They 
are more savage than the Spaniard, more terrible than 
the Maya. They neither give nor take in marriage, nor 
does a priest reside among them. They are the devil's 
own spawn, and their ways are the devil's ways, only 
worse." 

Here the Maya arose, and, with accusing finger, de- 
nounced Leoncia for being the cause of this latest trouble. 
A bullet creased his shoulder and half -whirled him about. 

" Drag him down!" Henry shouted to Francis. " He's 
the only man who knows the knot-language; and the eyes 
of Chia, whatever that may mean, have not yet flashed." 

Francis obeyed, with an out-reach of arm to the old 
fellow's legs, jerking him down in a crumpled, skeleton- 
like fall. 



130 HEARTS OF THREE 

Henry loosed his rifle, and elicited a fusillade in response. 
Next, Ricardo, Francis, and the peon joined in. But the 
old man, still running his knots, fixed his gaze across the 
far rim of the foot-step upon a rugged wall of mountain 
beyond. 

" Hold on!" shouted Francis, in a vain attempt to make 
himself heard above the shooting. 

He was compelled to crawl from one to another and 
shake them into ceasing from firing. And to each, sepa- 
rately, he had to explain that all their ammunition was 
with the mules, and that they must be sparing with the 
little they had in their magazines and belts. 

" And don't let them hit you," Henry warned. 
" They've got old muskets and blunderbuses that will drive 
holes through you the size of dinner-plates." 

An hour later, the last cartridge, save several in Francis' 
automatic pistol, was gone; and to the irregular firing of 
the Caroos the pit replied with silence. Jose Mancheno 
was the first to guess the situation. He cautiously crept 
up to the edge of the pit to make sure, then signaled to 
the Caroos that the ammunition of the besieged was ex- 
hausted and to come on. 

" Nicely trapped, senors," he exulted down at the de- 
fenders, while from all around the rim laughter arose from 
the Caroos. 

But the next moment the change that came over the 
situation was as astounding as a transformation scene in 
a pantomime. With wild cries of terror the Caroos were 
fleeing. Such was their disorder and haste that numbers 
of them dropped their muskets and machetes. 

" Anyway, I'll get you, Senor Buzzard," Francis plea- 
santly assured Mancheno, at the same time flourishing his 
pistol at him. 

He leveled his weapon as Mancheno fled, but recon- 
sidered and did not draw trigger. 

" I've only three shots left," he explained to Henry, 
half in apology. " And in this country one can never 
tell when three shots will come in handiest, ' as I've found 
out, beyond a doubt, beyond a doubt.' ' 

" Look!" the peon cried, pointing to his father and to 
the distant mountainside. " That is why they ran away. 
They have learned the peril of the sacred things of Maya. ' ' 

The old priest, running over the knots of the tassel in 
an ecstasy that was almost trance-like, was gazing fixedly 



HEARTS OF THREE 131 

at the distant mountainside, from which, side by side and 
close together, two bright flashes of light were repeating 
themselves. 

" Twin mirrors could do it in the hands of a man," was 
Henry's comment. 

" They are the eyes of Chia," the peon repeated. " It 
is so written in the knots as you have heard my father say. 
'Wait in the foot-steps of the God till the eyes of Chia 
flash." 

The old man rose to his feet and wildly proclaimed : 
' To find the treasure we must find the eyes!" 

" All right, old top," Henry soothed him, as, with his 
small traveler's compass he took the bearings of the flashes. 



" He's got a compass inside his head," Henry remarked 
an hour later of the old priest, who led on the foremost 
mule. " I check him by the compass, and, no matter 
how the natural obstacles compel him to deviate, he comes 
back to the course as if he were himself a magnetic needle." 

Not since leaving the foot-step, had the flashings been 
visible. Only from that one spot, evidently, did the rugged 
landscape permit the seeing of them. Rugged the country 
was, broken into arroyos and cliffs, interspersed with forest 
patches and stretches of sand and of volcanic ash. 

At last the way became impassable for their mounts, 
and Ricardo was left behind to keep charge of the mules 
and mule-peons and to make, a camp. The remainder of 
the party continued on, scaling the jungle-clad steep that 
blocked their way by hoisting themselves and one another 
up from root to root. The old Maya, still leading, was obli- 
vious to Leoncia's presence. 

Suddenly, half a mile farther on, he halted and shrank 
back as if stung by a viper. Francis laughed, and across 
the wild landscape came back a discordant, mocking echo. 
The last priest of the Mayas ran the knots hurriedly, 
picked out a particular string, ran its knots twice, and 
then announced : 

' When the God laughs, beware! so say the knots." 

Fifteen minutes were lost ere Henry and Francis suc- 
ceeded in only partly convincing him, by repeated trials of 
their voices, that the thing was an echo. 

Half an hour later, they debouched on a series of abrupt- 
rolling sand-dunes. Again the old man shrank back. From 



132 HEAETS OF THEEE 

the sand in which they strode, arose a clamor of noise. 
When they stood still, all was still. A single step, and 
all the sand about them became vocal. 

When the God laughs, beware!" the old Maya warned. 

Drawing a circle in the sand with his finger, which 
shouted at him as he drew it, he sank down within it on 
his knees, and as his knees contacted on the sand arose 
a very screaming and trumpeting of sound. The peon 
joined his father inside the noisy circle, where, with his 
fore -finger, the old man was tracing screeching cabalistic 
figures and designs. 

Leoncia was overcome, and clung both to Henry and 
Francis. Even Francis was perturbed. 

" The echo was an echo," he said. " But here is no 
echo. I don't understand it. Frankly, it gets my goat." 

" Piffle!" Henry retorted, stirring the sand with his foot 
till it shouted again. " It's the barking sand. On the 
island of Kauai, down in the Hawaiian Islands, I have been 

across similar barking sands quite a place for tourists, 

I assure you. Only this is a better specimen, and much 
noisier. The scientists have a score of high-brow theories 
to account for the phenomenon. It occurs in several other 
places in the world, as I have heard. There's only one 
thing to do, and that is to follow the compass bearing 
which leads straight across. Such sands do bark, but 
they have never been known to bite." 

But the last of the priests could not be persuaded out 
of his circle, although they succeeded in disturbing him 
from his prayers long enough to spout a ilood of impassioned 
Maya speech. 

" He says," the son interpreted, " that we are bent on 
such sacrilege that the very sands cry out against us. He 
will go no nearer to the dread abode of Chia. Nor will I. 
His father died there, as is well known amongst the Mayas. 
He says he will not die there. He says he is not old 
enough to die." 

"The miserable octogenarian!" Francis laughed, and 
was startled by the ghostly, mocking laugh of the echo, 
while all about them the sand-dunes bayed in chorus. 
"Too youthful to die! How about you, Leoncia? Are 
you too young to die yet a while?" 

*' Say," she smiled back, moving her foot slightly so as 
to bring a moan of reproach from the sand beneath it. 
" On the contrary, I am too old to die just because the 



HEARTS OF THREE 133 

cliffs echo our laughter back at us and because the sand- 
hills bark at us. Come, let us go on. We are very close 
to those flashings. Let the old man wait within his circle 
until we come back." 

She cast off their hands and stepped forward, and as 
they followed, all the dunes became inarticulate, while 
one, near to them, down the sides of which ran a slide 
of sand, rumbled and thundered. Fortunately for them, 
as they were soon to learn, Francis, at abandoning the 
mules, had equipped himself with a coil of thin, strong 
rope. 

Once across the sands they encountered more echoes. 
On trials, they found their halloes distinctly repeated as 
often as six or eight times. 

" Hell's bells," said Henry. " No wonder the natives 
fight shy of such a locality ! ' ' 

Wasn't it Mark Twain who wrote about a man whose 
hobby was making a collection of echoes? " Francis 
queried. 

" Never heard of him. But this is certainly some fine 
collection of Maya echoes. They chose the region wisely 
for a hiding place. Undoubtedly it was always sacred, 
even before the Spaniards came. The old priests knew the 
natural causes of the mysteries, and passed them over to 
the herd as mystery with a capital ' M ' and supernatural 
in origin." 

Not many minutes afterward they emerged on an open, 
level space, close under a crannied 'and ledge-ribbed cliff, 
and exchanged their single-file mode of progression to three- 
abreast. The ground was a hard, brittle crust of surface, 
so crystalline and dry as never to suggest that it was 
aught else but crystalline and dry all the way down. In 
an ebullition of spirits, desiring to keep both men on an 
equality of favor, Leoncia seized their hands and started 
them into a run. At the end of half a dozen strides the 
disaster happened. Simultaneously Henry and Francis 
broke through the crust, sinking to their thighs, 
and Leoncia was only a second behind them in breaking 
through and sinking almost as deep. 

11 Hell's bells !" Henry muttered. " It's the very devil's 
own landscape." 

And his low-spoken words were whispered back to him 
from the near-by cliffs on all sides and endlessly and 
sibilantly repeated. 



134 HEARTS OF THREE 

Not at first did they fully apprehend their danger. It 
was when', by their struggles, they found themselves waist- 
deep and steadily sinking, that the two men grasped the 
gravity of the situation. Leoncia still laughed at the pre- 
dicament, for it seemed no more than that to her. 

" Quicksand," Francis gasped. 

" Quicksand !" all the landscape gasped back at him, and 
continued to gasp it in fading ghostly whispers, repeating 
it and gossiping about it with gleeful unction. 

" It's a pot-hole filled with quicksand," Henry corro- 
borated. 

" Maybe the old boy was right in sticking back there on 
the barking sands," observed Francis. 

The ghostly whispering redoubled upon itself and was 
a long time in dying away. 

By this time they were midway between waist and 
arm-pits and sinking as methodically as ever. 

' Well, somebody's got to get out of the scrape alive," 
Henry remarked. 

And, even without discussing the choice, both men began 
to hoist Leoncia up, although the effort and her weight 
thrust them more quickly down. When she stood, free 
and clear, a foot on the nearest shoulder of each of the 
two men she loved, Francis said, though the landscape 
mocked him : 

" Now, Leoncia, we're going to toss you out^of this. 
At the word ' Go ! ' let yourself go. And you must strike 
full length and softly on the crust. You'll slide a little. 
But don't let yourself stop. Keep on going. Crawl out 
to the solid land on your hands and knees. And, whatever 
you do, don't stand up until you reach the solid land. 
Beady, Henry?" 

Between them, though it hastened their sinking, they 
swung her back and forth, free in the air, and, the third 
swing, at Francis' "Go!" heaved her shoreward. 

Her obedience to their instructions was implicit, and, 
on hands and knees, she gained the solid rocks of the shore. 

" Now for the rope!" she called to them. 

But by this time Francis was too deep to be able to 
remove the coil from around his neck and under one arm. 
Henry did it for him, and, though the exertion sank him 
to an equal deepness, managed to fling one end of the rope 
to Leoncia. 

At first she pulled on it. Next, she fastened a turn 



HEARTS OF THREE 135 

around a boulder the size of a motor car, and let Henry 
pull. But it was in vain. The strain or purchase was so 
lateral that it seemed only to pull him deeper. The quick- 
sand was sucking and rising over his shoulders when 
Leoncia cried out, precipitating a very Bedlam of echoes : 

" Wait! Stop pulling ! I have an idea ! Give me all the 
slack ! Just save enough of the end to tie under your 
shoulders !" 

The next moment, dragging the rope after her by the 
other end, she was scaling the cliff . Forty feet up, where 
a gnarled and dwarfed tree rooted in the crevices, shs 
paused. Passing the rope across the tree-trunk, as over 
a hook, she drew in the slack and made fast to a boulder 
of several hundred-weight. 

" Good for the girl!" Francis applauded to Henry. 

Both men had grasped her plan, and success depended 
merely on her ability to dislodge the boulder and topple it 
off the ledge. Five precious minutes were lost, until she 
could find a dead branch of sufficient strength to serve 
as a crowbar. Attacking the boulder from behind and 
working with tense coolness while her two lovers continued 
to sink, she managed at the last to topple it over the 
brink. 

As it fell, the rope tautened with a jerk that fetched 
an involuntary grunt from Henry's suddenly constricted 
chest. Slowly, he arose out of the quicksand, his progress 
being accompanied by loud sucking reports as the sand 
reluctantly released him. But, when he cleared the 
surface, the boulder so outweighed him that he shot shore- 
ward across the crust until directly under the purchase 
above, when the boulder came to resfc on the ground beside 
him. ' : 

Only Francis' head, arms, and tops of shoulders were 
visible above the quicksand when the end of the rope 
was flung to him. And, when he stood beside them on 
terra firma, and when he shook his fist at the quicksand 
he had escaped by so narrow a shave, they joined with 
him in deriding it. And a myriad ghosts derided them 
back, and all the air about them was woven by whispering 
shuttles into an evil texture of mockery. 



CHAPTER XIV 

' WE can't be a million miles away from it," Henry said, 
as the trio came to pause at the foot of a high steep 
cliff. " If it's any farther on, then the course lies right 
straight over the cliff, and, since we can't climb it and 
from the extent of it it must be miles around, the source 
of those flashes ought to be right here." 

" Now could it have been a man with looking-glasses?" 
Leoncia ventured. 

" Most likely some natural phenomenon," Francis 
answered. "I'm strong on natural phenomena since those 
barking sands." 

Leoncia, who chanced to be glancing along the face of 
the cliff farther on, suddenly stiffened with attention and 
cried, " Look !" r 

Their eyes followed hers, and rested on the same point. 
What they saw was no flash, but a steady persistence of 
white light that blazed and burned like the sun. Following 
the base of the cliff at a scramble, both men remarked, 
from the density of vegetation, that there had been no 
travel of humans that way in many years. Breathless 
from their exertions, they broke out through the brush 
upon an open-space where a not-ancient slide of rock from 
the cliff precluded the growth of vegetable life. 

Leoncia clapped her hands. There was no need for 
her to point. Thirty feet above, on the face of the cliff, 
were two huge eyes. Fully a fathom across was each of 
the eyes, their surfaces brazen with some white reflecting 
substance. 

"The eyes of Chia!" she cried. 

Henry scratched his head with sudden recollection. 

" I've a shrewd suspicion I can tell you what they're 
composed of," he said. " I've never seen it before, but 
I've heard old-timers mention it. It's an old Maya trick. 

136. 



HEARTS OF THREE 137 

My share of the treasure, Francis, against a perforated 
dime, that I can tell you what the reflecting stuff is." 

" Done!" cried Francis. " A man's a fool not to take 
odds like that, even if it's a question of the multiplication 
table. Possibly millions of dollars against a positive bad 
dime ! I'd bet two times two made five on the chance 
that a miracle could prove it. Name it? What is it? The 
bet is on." 

" Oysters," Henry smiled. " Oyster shells, or, rather, 
pearl-oyster shells. It's mother-of-pearl, cunningly 
mosaicked and cemented in so as to give a continuous re- 
flecting surface. Now you have to prove me wrong, so 
climb up and see." 

Beneath the eyes, extending a score of feet up and down 
the cliff, was a curious, triangular out-jut of rock. Almost 
was it like an excrescence on the face of the cliff. The 
apex of it reached within a yard of the space that inter- 
vened between the eyes. Rough inequalities of surface, 
and cat-like clinging on Francis' part, enabled him to ascend 
the ten feet to the base of the excrescence. Thence, 
up to the ridge of it, the way was easier. But a twenty-five- 
foot fall and a broken arm or leg in the midst of such 
isolation was no pleasant thing to consider, and Leoncia, 
causing an involuntary jealous gleam to light Henry's eyes, 
called up : 

" Oh, do be careful, Francis!" 

Standing on the tip of the triangle he was gazing, now 
into one, and then into the other, of the eyes. He drew his 
hunting knife and began to dig and pry at the right-hand 
eye. 

" If the old gentleman were here he'd have a fit at 
such sacrilege," Henry commented. 

" The perforated dime is yours," Francis called down, 
at the same time dropping into Henry's outstretched palm 
the fragment he had dug loose. /**"* - 

Mother-of-pearl it was, a flat,; piece cut with definite 
purpose to fit in with the many other pieces to form the 
eye. 

'Where there's smoke there's fire," Henry adjudged. 
" Not for nothing did the Mayas select this God-forsaken 
spot and stick these eyes of Chia on the cliff." 

' Looks as if we'd made a mistake in leaving the old 
gentleman and his sacred knots behind," Francis said. 



138 HEARTS OF THREE 

' The knots should tell all about it and what our next 
move should be." 

. " Where there are eyes there should be a nose," Leoncia 
contributed. 

" And there is!" exclaimed Francis. " Heavens! That 
was the nose I just climbed up. We're too close up against 
it to have perspective. At a hundred yards' distance it 
would look like a colossal face." 

Leoncia advanced gravely and kicked at a decaying de- 
posit of leaves and twigs evidently blown there by tropic 
gales. 

" Then the mouth ought to be where a mouth belongs, 
here -under the nose," she v said. 

In a trice Henry and Francis had kicked the rubbish 
aside and exposed an opening too small to admit a man's 
body. It was patent that the rock-slide had partly blocked 
the way. A few rocks heaved aside gave space for Francis 
to insert his head and shoulders and gaze about with a 
lighted match. 

" Watch out for snakes," warned Leoncia. 

Francis grunted acknowledgment and reported : 

" This is no natural cavern. It's all hewn rock, and 
well done, if I'm any judge." A muttered expletive an- 
nounced the burning of his fingers by the expiring match- 
stub. And next they heard his voice, in accents of surprise : 
" Don't need any matches. It's got a lighting system of 

its own from somewhere above regular concealed 

lighting, though it's daylight all right. Those old Mayas 
were certainly some goers. Wouldn't be surprised if we 
found an elevator, hot and cold water, a furnace, and a 
Swede janitor. Well, so long." 

His trunk, and legs, and feet disappeared, and then 
his voice issued forth : 

" Come on in. The cave is fine. 

" And now aren't you glad you let me come along?" 
Leoncia twitted, as she joined the two men on the level 
floor of the rock-hewn chamber, where, their eyes quickly 
accustoming to the mysterious gray-percolation of daylight, 
they could see about them with surprising distinctness. 
" First, I found the eyes for you, and, next, the mouth. 
If I hadn't been along, most likely, by this time, you'd 
have been 4 half a mile away, going around the cliff and 
going farther and farther every step you took. 



HEARTS OF THREE 

" But the place is bare as old Mother Hubbard's cup- 
board," she added, the next moment. 

" Naturally," said Henry. " This is only the ante- 
chamber. Not so sillily would the Mayas hide the treasure 
the conquistadores were so mad after. I'm willing to wager 
right now that we're almost as far from finding the actual 
treasure as we would be if we were not here but in San 
Antonio." 

Twelve or fifteen feet in width and of an unascertainable 
height, the passage led them what Henry judged " forty 
paces, or well over a hundred feet. Then it abruptly nar- 
rowed, turned at a right angle to the right, and, with a 
similar right angle to the left, made an elbow into another 
spacious chamber. 

Still the mysterious percolation of daylight guided the 
way for their eyes, and Francis, in the lead, stopped so sud- 
denly that Leoncia and Henry, in a single file behind, 
collided with him. Leoncia in the center, and Henry on 
her left, they stood abreast and gazed down a long avenue 
of humans, long dead, but not dust. 

" Like the Egyptians, the Mayas knew embalming and 
mummifying," Henry said, his voice unconsciously sinking 
to a whisper in the presence of so many unburied dead, who 
stood erect and at gaze, as if still alive. 

All were European-clad, and all exposed the impassive 
faces of Europeans. About them, as to the life, were draped 
the ages-rotten habiliments of the conquistadores and of the 
English pirates. Two of them, with visors raised, were 
encased in rusty armor. Their swords and cutlasses w.ere 
belted to them or held in their shriveled hands, and through 
their belts were thrust huge flintlock pistols of archaic model. 

' The old Maya was right," Francis whispered. 
" They've decorated the hiding place with their mortal 
remains and been stuck up in the lobby as a warning to 
trespassers. Say! If that chap isn't a real Iberian! I'll 
bet he played haia-lai, and his fathers before him." 

" And that's a Devonshire man if ever I saw one," 
Henry whispered back. " Perforated dimes to pieces-of- 
eight that he poached the fallow deer and fled the king's 
wrath in the first forecastle for the Spanish Main." 

" Br-r-r!" Leoncia shivered, clinging to both men. " The 
sacred things of the Mayas are dea'dly and ghastly. And 
there is a classic vengeance about it. The would-be 



140 HEAETS OF THREE 

robbers of the treasure-house have become its defenders, 
guarding it with their unperishing clay. ' ' 

They were loath to proceed. The garmented spectres of 
the ancient dead held them temporarily spell-bound. Henry 
grew melodramatic. 

" Even to this far, mad place," he said, " as early as 
the beginning of the Conquest, their true-hound noses led 
them on the treasure-scent. Even though they could not 
get away with it, they won unerringly to it. My hat 
is off to you, pirates and conquistadores ! I salute you, 
old gallant plunderers, whose noses smelt out gold, and 
whose hearts were brave sufficient to fight for it!" 

" Huh!" Francis concurred, as he urged the other two 
to traverse the avenue of the ancient adventurers. " Old 
Sir Henry himself ought to be here at the head of the pro- 
cession." 

Thirty paces they took, ere the passage elbowed as 
before, and, at the very end of the double-row of mummies, 
Henry brought his companions to a halt as he pointed and 
said: 

" I don't know about Sir Henry, but there's Alvarez 
Torres." 

Under a Spanish helmet, in decapitated medieval 
Spanish dress, a big Spanish sword in its brown and withered 
hand, stood a mummy whose lean brown face for all the 
world was the lean brown face of Alvarez Torres. Leoncia 
gasped, shrank back, and crossed herself at the sight. 

Francis released her to Henry, advanced, and fingered 
the cheeks and lips and forehead of the thing, and laughed 
reassuringly : 

" I.only wish Alvarez Torres were as dead as this dead one 
is. I haven't the slightest doubt, however, but what Torres 

descended from him 1 mean before he came here to take 

up his final earthly residence as a member of the Maya 
Treasure Guard." 

Leoncia passed the grim figure shudderingly. This time, 
the elbow passage was very dark, compelling Henry, who 
had changed into the lead, to light numerous matches. 

" Hello!" he said, as he paused at the end of a couple 
of hundred feet. " Gaze on that for workmanship! Look 
at the dressing of that stone ! ' ' 

From beyond, gray light streamed into the passage, 
making matches unnecessary to see. Half into a niche 
was thrust a stone the size of the passage. It was apparent 



HEARTS OF THREE 141 

that it had been used to block the passage. The dressing 
was equisite, the sides and edges of the block precisely 
aligned with the place in the wall into which it was made to 
dovetail. 

" I'll wager here's where the old Maya's father died," 
Francis exclaimed. " He knew the secret of the balances 
and leverages that pivoted the stone, and it was only partly 
pivoted, as you' '11 observe " 

" Hell's bells!" Henry interrupted, pointing before him 
on the floor at a scattered skeleton. " It must be what's 
left of him. It's fairly recent, or he would have been 
mummified. Most likely he was the last visitor before us." 

" The old priest said his father led men of the tierra 
caliente here," Leoncia reminded Henry. 

" Also," Francis supplemented, " he said that none re- 
turned." 

Henry, who had located the skull and picked it up, 
uttered another exclamation and lighted a match to show 
the others what he had discovered-. Not only was the 
skull dented with what must have been a blow from a 
sword or a machete, but a shattered hole in the back of 
the skull showed the unmistakable entrance of a bullet. 
Henry shook the skull, was rewarded by an interior rattling, 
shook again, and shook out a partly flattened bullet. 
Francis examined it. 

" From a horse-pistol," he concluded aloud. " With 
weak or greatly deteriorated powder, because, in a place 
like this, it must have been fired pretty close t9 point 
blank range and yet failed to go all the way through. And 
it's an aboriginal skull all right." 

A right-angled turn completed the elbow and gave them 
access to a small but well-lighted rock chamber. From a 
window, high up and barred with vertical bars of stone a 
foot thick and half as wide, poured gray daylight. The 
floor of the place was littered with white-picked bones of 
men. An examination of the skulls showed them to be 
those of Europeans. Scattered among them were rifles, 
pistols, and knives, with, here and there, a machete. 

" Thus far they won, across the very threshold to the 
treasure," Francis said, " and, from the looks, began to 
fight for its possession before they laid hands on it. Too 
bad the old man isn't here to see what happened to his 

p . i . * JT J. 

father. 



142 HEARTS OF THREE 

" Might there not have been survivors who managed to 
get away with the loot?" suggested Henry. 

But at that moment, casting, his eyes from the bones to a 
survey of the chamber, Francis saw what made him say : 
' Without doubt, no. See those gems in those eyes. 
Eubies, or I never saw a ruby!" 

They followed his gaze to the stone statue of a squat 
and heavy female who stared at them red-eyed and open- 
mouthed. So large was the mouth that it made a carica- 
ture of the rest of the face. Beside it, carved similarly 
of stone, and on somewhat more heroic lines, was a more 
obscene and hideous male statue, with one ear of propor- 
tioned size and the other ear as grotesquely large as the 
female's mouth. 

" The beauteous dame must be Chia all right," Henry 
grinned. " But who's her gentleman friend with the ele- 
phant ear and the green eyes?" 

" Search me," Francis laughed. " But this I do know: 
those green eyes of the elephant-eared one are the largest 
emeralds I've ever seen or dreamed of. Each of them is 
really too large to possess fair carat value. They should 
be crown jewels or nothing." 

" But a couple of emeralds and a couple of rubies, no 
matter what size, should not constitute the totality of the 
Maya treasure," Henry contended. ' We're across the 
threshold of it, and yet we lack the key " 

' Which the old Maya, back on the barking sands, un- 
doubtedly holds in that sacred tassel of his," Leoncia 
said. " Except for these two statues and the bones on the 
floor, the place is bare." 

As she spoke, she advanced to look the male statue over 
more closely. The grotesque ear centered her attention, 
and she pointed into it as she added : " I don't know about 
the key, but there is the key -hole." 

True enough, the elephantine ear, instead of enfolding 
an orifice as an ear of such size should, was completely 
blocked up save for a small aperture that not too remotely 
resembled a key-hole. They wandered vainly about the 
chamber, tapping the walls and floor, seeking for cunningly- 
hidden passageways or unguessable clues to the hiding place 
of the treasure. 

" Bones of tierra caliente men, two idols, two emeralds 
of enormous size, two rubies ditto, and ourselves, are all 
the place contains," Francis summed up. " Only a couple 



HEARTS OF THREE 143 

of things remain for us to do : go back and bring up 
Kicardo and the mules to make camp outside; and bring 
up the old gentleman and his sacred knots if we have to 
carry him." 

' You wait with Leoncia, and I'll go back and bring 
them up," Henry volunteered, when they had threaded 
the long passages and the avenues of the erect dead and 
won to the sunshine and the sky outside the face of the 
cliff. 



Back on the barking sands the peon and his father knelt 
in the circle so noisily drawn by the old man's forefinger. 
A local rain squall beat upon them, and, though the peon 
shivered, the old man prayed on oblivious to what might 
happen to his skin in the way of wind and water. It was 
because the peon shivered and was uncomfortable that he 
observed two things which his father missed. First, he 
saw Alvarez Torres and Jos6 Mancheno cautiously venture 
out from the jungle upon the sand. Next, he saw a miracle. 
The miracle was that the pair of them trudged steadily 
across the sand without causing the slightest sound to 
arise from their progress. When they had disappeared 
ahead, he touched his finger tentatively to the sand, and 
aroused no ghostly whisperings. He thrust his finger into 
the sand, yet all was silent, as was it silent when he 
buffeted the sand heartily with the flat of his palm. The 
passing shower had rendered the sand dumb. 

He shook his father out of his prayers, announcing : 

" The sand no longer is noisy. It is as silent as the 
grave. And I have seen the enemy of the rich Gringo 
pass across the sand without sound. He is not devoid of 
sin, this Alvarez Torres, yet did the sand make no sound. 
The sand has died. The voice of the sand is not. Where 
the sinful may walk, you and I, old father, may walk." 

Inside the circle, the old Maya, with trembling forefinger 
in the sand, traced further cabalistic characters; and the 
sand did not shout back at him. Outside the circle it was 
the same because the sand had become wet, and be- 
cause it was the way of the sand to be vocal only when 
it was bone-dry under the sun. He fingered the knots of 
the sacred writing tassel. 

" It says," he reported, " that when the sand no longer 
talks it is safe to proceed. So far I have obeyed all instruc- 



144 HEARTS OF THEEE 

tion. In order to obey further instruction, let us now 
proceed." 

So well did they proceed, that, shortly beyond the 
barking sands, they overtook Torres and Mancheno, 
which worthy pair slunk off into the brush on one side, 
watched the priest and his son go by, and took up their 
trail well in the rear. While Henry, taking a short cut, 
missed both couples of men. 



CHAPTEK XV 

" EVEN so, it was a mistake and a weakness on my part 
to remain in Panama," Francis was saying to Leoncia, as 
they sat side by side on the rocks outside the cave entrance, 
waiting Henry's return. 

' ' Does the stock market of New York then mean so much 
to you?" Leoncia coquettishly teased; yet only part of it 
was coquetry, the major portion of it being temporization. 
She was afraid of being alone with this man whom she 
loved so astoundingly and terribly. 

Francis was impatient. 

" I am ever a straight talker, Leoncia. I say what I 
mean, in the directest, shortest way " 

' Wherein you differ from us Spaniards," she interpo- 
lated, " who must garnish and dress the simplest thoughts 
with all decorations of speech." 

But he continued undeterred what he had started to say. 

" There you are a baffler, Leoncia, which was just what 
I was going to call you. I speak straight talk and true talk, 
which is a man's way. You baffle in speech, and flutter 

like a butterfly which, I grant, is a woman's way and 

to be expected. Nevertheless, it is not fair ... to me. 
I tell you straight out the heart of me, and you understand. 
You do not tell me your heart. You flutter and baffle, 
and I do not understand. Therefore, you have me at a 
disadvantage. You know I love you. I have told you 
plainly. I? What do I know about you?" 

With downcast eyes and rising color in her cheeks, she 
sat silent, unable to reply. 

" You see!" he insisted. " You do not answer. You 
look warmer and more beautiful and desirable than ever, 
more enticing, in short; and yet you baffle me and tell me 
nothing of your heart or intention. Is it because you are 
woman? Or because you are Spanish?" 

She felt herself stirred profoundly. Beyond herself, yet 

145 



146 HEARTS OF THREE 

in cool control of herself, she raised her eyes and looked 
steadily in his as steadily she said : 

" I can be Anglo-Saxon, or English, or American, or 
whatever you choose to name the ability to look things 
squarely in the face and to talk squarely into the face of 
things." She paused and debated coolly with herself, and 
coolly resumed. ' You complain that while you have 
told me that you love me, I have not told you whether 
or not I love you. I shall settle that forever and now. I 
do love you " 

She thrust his eager arms away from her. 

* Wait!" she commanded. "Who is the woman now? 
Or the Spaniard? I had not finished. I love you. I am 
proud that I love you. Yet there is more. You have 
asked me for my heart and intention. I have told you 
part of the one. I now tell you all of the other : I intend 
to marry Henry." 

Such Anglo-Saxon directness left Francis breathless. 

" In heaven's name, why?" was all he could utter. 

"Because I love Henry," she answered, her eyes still 
unshrinkingly on his. 

" And you . . . you say you love me?" he quavered. 

" And I love you, too. I love both of you. I am a good 
woman, at least I always used to think so. I still think 
so, though my reason tells me that I cannot love two men 
at the same time and be a good woman. I don't care 
about that. If I am bad, it is I, and I cannot help myself 
for being what I was born to be." 

She paused and waited, but her lover was still speech- 
less. 

"And who's the Anglo-Saxon now?" she queried, with 
a slight smile, half of bravery, half of amusement at the 
dumbness of consternation her words had produced in him. 
." I have told you, without baffling, without fluttering, my 
full heart and my full intention." 

"But you can't!" he protested wildly. 'You can't 
love me and marry Henry." 

" Perhaps you have not understood," she chided 
gravely. " I intend to marry Henry. I love you. I love 
Henry. But I cannot marry both of you. The law will 
not permit. Therefore I shall marry only one of you. 
It is my intention that that one be Henry." 

' Then why, why," he demanded, " did you persuade 
me into remaining?" 



HEARTS OF THEEE 147 

' Because I loved you. I have already so told you." 

" If you keep this up I shall go mad!" he cried. 

" I have felt like going mad over it myself many times," 
she assured him. " If you think it is easy for me thus to 
play the Anglo-Saxon, you are mistaken. But no Anglo- 
Saxon, not even you whom I love so dearly, can hold 
me in contempt because I hide the shameful secrets of 
the impulses of my being. Less shameful I find it, for 
me to tell them, right out in meeting, to you. If this be 
Anglo-Saxon, make the most of it. If it be Spanish, 
and woman, and Solano, still make the most of it, for 

I am Spanish, and woman a Spanish woman of the 

Solanos " 

" But I don't talk with my hands," she added with a 
wan smile in the silence that fell. 

Just as he was about to speak, she hushed him, and both 
listened to a crackling and rustling from the underbrush 
that advertised the passage of humans. 

" Listen," she whispered hurriedly, laying her hand 
suddenly on his arm, as if pleading. " I shall be finally 
Anglo-Saxon, and for the last time, when I tell you what 
I am going to tell you. Afterward, and for always, I shall 
be the baffling, fluttering, female Spaniard you have 
chosen for my description. Listen : I love Henry, it is 
true, very true. I love you more, much more. I shall 
marry Henry . . . because I love him and am pledged 
to him. Yet always shall I love you more." 

Before he could protest, the old Maya priest and his 
peon son emerged from the underbrush close upon them. 
Scarcely noticing their presence, the pries,t went down 
on his knees, exclaiming, in Spanish : 

" For the first Cirne have my eyes beheld the eyes of 
Chia." 

He ran the knots of the sacred tassel and began a 
prayer in Maya, which, could they have understood, ran 
as follows: 

"O immortal Chia, great spouse of the divine Hzatzl 
who created all things out of nothingness ! O immortal 
spouse of Hzatzl, thyself the mother of the corn, the divinity 
of the heart of the husked grain, goddess of the rain and 
the fructifying sun-rays, nourisher of all the grains and 
roots and fruits for the sustenance of man ! O glorious 
Chia, whose mouth ever commands the ear of Hzatzl, to 
thee humbly, thy priest, I make my prayer. Be kind to 



148 HEAETS OF THREE 

me, and forgiving. From thy mouth let issue forth the 
golden key that opens the ear of Hzatzl. Let thy faithful 

priest gain to Hzatzl's treasure Not for himself, 

Divinity, but for the sake of his son whom the Gringo 
saved. Thy children, the Mayas, pass. There is no need 
for them of the treasure. I am thy last priest. With me 
passes all understanding of thee and of thy great spouse, 
whose name I breathe only with my forehead on the stones. 
Hear me, O Chia, hear me ! My head is on the stones 
before thee ! ' ' 

For all of five minutes the old Maya lay prone, quivering 
and jerking as if in a catalepsy, while Leoncia and Francis 
looked curiously on, themselves half -swept by the unmis- 
takable solemnity of the old man's prayer, non-understand- 
able though it was. 

Without waiting for Henry, Francis entered the cave a 
second time. With Leoncia beside him, he felt quite like 
a guide as he showed the old priest over the place. The 
latter, ever reading the knots and mumbling, followed be- 
hind, while the peon was left on guard outside. In the 

avenue of mummies the priest halted reverently not 

so much for the mummies as for the sacred tassel. 

'It is so written," he announced, holding out a par- 
ticular string of knots. ' These men were evil, and robbers. 
Their doom here is to wait forever outside the inner room 
of Maya mystery." 

Francis hurried him past the heap of bones of his father 
before him, and led him into the inner chamber, where first 
of all, he prostrated himself before the two idols and 
prayed long and earnestly. After that, he studied certain 
of the strings very carefully. Then he made announce- 
ment, first in Maya, which Francis gave him to know 
was unintelligible, and next in broken Spanish : 

; ' From the mouth of Chia to the ear of Hzatzl so is 

it written." 

Francis listened to the cryptic utterance, glanced into 
the dark cavity of the goddess' mouth, stuck the blade of 
his hunting-knife into the key-hole of the god's monstrous 
ear, then tapped the stone with the hilt of his knife and 
declared the statue to be hollow. Back to Chia, he was 
tapping her to demonstrate her hollo wness, when the old 
Maya muttered : 

" The feet of Chia rest upon nothingness." 



HEARTS OF- THREE 149 

Francis caught by the idea, made the old man verify 
the message by the knots. 

" Her feet are large," Leoncia laughed, " but they rest 
on the solid rock-floor and not on nothingness." 

Francis pushed against the female deity with his hand 
and found that she moved easily. Gripping her with both 
hands, he began to wrestle, moving her with quick jerks 
and twists. 

" For the strong men and unafraid will Chia walk," 
the priest read. "But the next three knots declare: 
Beware ! Beware ! Beware ! ' ' 

" Well, I guess, that nothingness, whatever it is, won't 
bite me," Francis chuckled, as he released the statue after 
shifting it a yard from its original position. 

There, old lady, stand there for a while, or sit down 
if that will rest your feet. They ought to be tired after 
standing on nothing for so many centuries." 

A cry from Leoncia drew his gaze to the portion of the 
floor just vacated by the large feet of Chia. Stepping 
backward from the displaced goddess, he had been just 
about to fall into the rock-hewn hole her feet had concealed. 
It was circular, and a full yard in diameter. In vain he 
tested the depth by dropping lighted matches. They fell 
burning, and, without reaching bottom, still falling, were 
extinguished by the draught of their flight. 

" It looks very much like nothingness without a bottom," 
he adjudged, as he dropped a tiny stone fragment. 

Many seconds they listened ere they heard it strike. 

" Even that may not be the bottom," Leoncia suggested. 
" It may have been struck against some projection from 
the side and even lodged there." 

' Well, this will determine it," Francis cried, seizing an 
ancient musket from among the bones on the floor and 
preparing to drop it. 

But the old man stopped him. 

' ' The message of the sacred knots is : whoso violates 
the nothingness beneath the feet of Chia shall quickly and 
terribly die." 

"Far be it from me to make a stir in the void," 
Francis grinned, tossing the musket aside. " But what 
are we to do now, old Maya man? From the mouth of 

Chia to the ear of Hzatzl sounds easy but how? and 

what? Run the sacred knots with thy fingers, old top, 
and find for us how and what." 



150 HEARTS OF THREE 

For the son of the priest, the peon with the frayed knees, 
the clock had struck. All unaware, he had seen his last 
sun-rise. No matter what happened this day, no matter 
what blind efforts he might make to escape, the day was 
to be his last day. Had he remained on guard at the cave- 
entrance, he would surely have been killed by Torres and 
Mancheno, who had arrived close on his heels. 

But, instead of so remaining, it entered his cautious, 
timid soul to make a scout out and beyond for possible foes. 
.Thus, he missed death in the daylight under the sky. Yet 
the pace of the hands of the clock was unalterable, and 
neither nearer nor farther was his destined end from him. 

While he scouted, Alvarez Torres and Jose" Mancheno 
arrived at the cave-opening. The colossal, mother-of-pearl 
eyes of Chia on the wall of the cliff were too much for the 
superstition-reared Caroo. 

; ' Do you go in," he told Torres. " I will wait here and 
watch and guard." 

And Torres, with strong in him the blood of the ancient 
forebear who stood faithfully through the centuries in the 
avenue of the mummy dead, entered the Maya cave as 
courageously as that forebear had entered. 

And the instant he was out of sight, Jose Mancheno, 
unafraid to murder treacherously any living, breathing 
man, but greatly afraid of the unseen world behind unex- 
plainable phenomena, forgot the trust of watch and ward 
and stole away through the jungle. Thus, the peon, re- 
turning reassured from his scout and curious to learn the 
Maya secrets of his father and of the sacred tassel, found 
nobody at the cave mouth and himself entered into it 
close upon the heels of Torres. 

The latter trod softly and cautiously, for fear of disclos- 
ing his presence to those he trailed. Also his progress was 
still further delayed by the spectacle of the ancient dead 
in the hall of mummies. Curiously he examined these 
men whom history had told about, and for whom history 
had stopped there in the antechamber of the Maya gods. 
Especially curious was he at the sight of the mummy at 
the end of the line. The resemblance to him was too 
striking for him not to see, and he could not but believe 
that he was looking upon some direct great-ancestor of his. 

Still gazing and speculating, he was warned by approach- 
ing footsteps, and glanced about for some place to hide. 
A sardonic humor seized him. Taking the helmet from 



HEARTS OF THREE 151 

the head of his ancient kin, he placed it on his own head. 
Likewise did he drape the rotten mantle about his form, 
and equip himself with the great sword and the great 
floppy boots that almost fell to pieces as he pulled them 
on. Next, half tenderly, he deposited the nude mummy 
on its back in the dark shadows behind the other mummies. 
And, finally, in the same spot at the end of the line, his 
hand resting on the sword-hilt, he assumed the same posture 
he had observed of the mummy. 

Only his eyes moved as he observed the peon venturing 
slowly and fearfully along the avenue of upright corpses. 
At sight of Torres he came to an abrupt stop and with 
wide eyes of dread muttered a succession of Maya prayers. 
Torres, so confronted, could only listen with closed eyes 
and conjecture. When he heard the peon move on he 
stole a look and saw him pause with apprehension at the 
narrow elbow-turn of the passage which he must venture 
next. Torres saw his chance and swung the sword aloft 
for the blow that would split the peon's head in twain. 

Though this was the day and the very hour for the peon, 
the last second had not yet ticked. Not there, in the tho- 
roughfare of the dead, was he destined to die under the 
hand of Torres. For Torres held his hand and slowly 
lowered the point of the sword to the floor, while the peon 
passed on into the elbow. 

The latter met up with his father, Leoncia, and Francis, 
just as Francis was demanding the priest to run the knots 
again for fuller information of the how and what that 
would open the ear of Hzatzl. 

" Put your hand into the mouth of Chia and draw forth 
the key," the old man commanded his reluctant son, who 
went about obeying him most gingerly. 

" She won't bite you she's stone," Francis laughed 

at him in Spanish. 

" The Maya gods are never stone," the old man reproved 
him. " They seem to be stone, but they are alive, and 
ever alive, and under the stone, and through the stone, and 
by the stone, as always, work their everlasting will." 

Leoncia shuddered away from him and clung against 
Francis, her hand on his arm, as if for protection. 

" I know that something terrible is going to happen," 
she gasped. " I don't like this place in the heart of a 
mountain among all these dead old things. I like the blue 
of the sky and the balm of the sunshine, and the wide- 



152 HEAETS OF THREE 

spreading sea. Something terrible is going to happen. 
I know that something terrible is going to happen." 

While Francis reassured her, the last seconds of the last 
minute for the peon were ticking off. And when, sum- 
moning all his courage, he thrust his hand into the mouth 
of the goddess, the last second ticked and the clock 
struck. With a scream of terror he pulled back his hand 
and gazed at the wrist where a tiny drop of blood exuded 
directly above an artery. The mottled head of a snake 
thrust forth like a mocking, derisive tongue and drew back 
and disappeared in the darkness of the mouth of the 
goddess. 

" A viperine!" screamed Leoncia, recognising the reptile. 

And the peon, likewise recognising the viperine and 
knowing his certain death by it, recoiled backward in 
horror, stepped into the hole, and vanished down the no- 
thingness which Chia had guarded with her feet for so 
many centuries. 

For a full minute nobody spoke, then the old priest said : 
" I have angered Chia, and she has slain my son." 

" Nonsense," Francis was comforting Leoncia. " The 
whole thing is natural and explainable. What more natural 
than that a viperine should choose a hole in a rock for a lair? 
It is the way of snakes. What more natural than that a 
man, bitten by a viperine, should step backward? And what 
more natural, with a hole behind him, than that he should 
fall into it- " 

" That is then just natural!" she cried, pointing to a 
stream of crystal water which boiled up over the lips of 
the hole and fountained up in the air like a geyser. " He 
is right. Through stone itself the gods work their ever- 
lasting will. He warned us. He knew from reading the 
knots of the sacred tassel." 

" Piffle!" Francis snorted. " Not the will of the gods, 
but of the ancient Maya priests who invented their gods 
as well as this particular device. Somewhere down that 
hole the peon's body struck the lever that opened stone 
flood-gates. And thus was released some subterranean body 
of water in the mountain. This is that water. No goddess 
with a monstrous mouth like that could ever have existed 
save in the monstrous imaginations of men. Beauty and 
divinity are one. A real and true goddess is always beautiful. 
Only man creates devils in all their ugliness." 



HEARTS OF THREE 153 

So large was the stream that already the water was 
about their ankles. 

" It's all right," Francis said. " I noticed, all the 
way from the entrance, the steady inclined plane of the 
floors of the rooms and passages. Those old Mayas were 
engineers, and they built with an eye on drainage. See how 
the water rushes away out through the passage. Well, old 
man, read your knots, where is the treasure?" 

Where is my son?" the old man counter-demanded 
in dull and hopeless tones. " Chia has slain my only born. 
For his mother I broke the Maya law and stained the 
pure Maya blood with the mongrel blood of a woman of 
the tierra caliente. Because I sinned for him that he 
might be, is he thrice precious to me. What care I for 
treasure? My son is gone. The wrath of the Maya gods 
is upon me." 

With gurglings and burblings and explosive air-bubblings 
that advertised the pressure behind, the water fountained 
high as ever into the air. Leoncia was the first to notice 
the rising depth of the water on the chamber floor. 

"It is half way to my knees," she drew Francis' atten- 
tion. 

" And time to get out," he agreed, grasping the situa- 
tion. " The drainage was excellently planned, perhaps. 
But that slide of rocks at the cliff entrance has evidently 
blocked the planned way of the water. In the other 
passages, being lower, the water is deeper, of course, than 
here. Yet is it already rising here on the general level. 
And that way lies the only way out. Come ! ' ' 

Thrusting Leoncia to lead in the place of safety, he 
caught the apathetic priest by the hand and dragged him 
after. At the entrance of the elbow turn the water was 
boiling above their knees. It was to their waists as they 
emerged into the chamber of mummies. 

And out of the water, confronting Leoncia's astounded 
gaze, arose the helmeted head and ancient-mantled body 
of a mummy. Not this alone would have astounded her, 
for other mummies were overtoppling, falling and being 
washed about in the swirling waters. But this mummy 
moved and made gasping noises for breath, and with eyes 
of life stared into her eyes. 

It was too much for ordinary human nature to bear 

a four-centuries old corpse dying the second death by 
drowning. Leoncia screamed, sprang forward, and fled 



154 HEARTS OF THEEE 

the way she had come, while Francis, in his own way 
equally startled, let her go past as he drew his automatic 
pistol. But the mummy, finding footing in the swift rush 
of the current, cried out: 

" Don't shoot! It is I Torres! I have just come back 
from the entrance. Something has happened. The way 
is blocked. The water is over one's head and higher than 
the entrance, and rocks are falling." 

" And your way is blocked in this direction," Francis 
said, aiming the revolver at him. 

' This is no time for quarreling," Torres replied. ' We 
must save all our lives, and, afterwards, if quarrel we 
must, then quarrel we will." 

Francis hesitated. 

" What is happening to Leoncia?" Torres demanded 
slyly. " I saw her run back. May she not be in danger 
by herself?" 

Letting Torres live and dragging the old man by the 
arm, Francis waded back to the chamber of the idols, fol- 
lowed by Torres. Here, at sight of him, Leoncia screamed 
her horror again. 

"It's only Torres," Francis reassured her. "He gave 
me a devil of a fright myself when I first saw him. But 
he's real flesh. He'll bleed if a knife is stuck into him. 
Come, old man ! We don't want to drown here like rats 
in a trap. This is not all of the Maya mysteries. Eead the 
tale of the knots and get us out of this ! ' ' 

" The way is not out but in/' the priest quavered. 

" And we're not particular so long as we get away. But 
how can we get in?" 

" From the mouth of Chia to the ear of Hzatzl, was the 
answer. 

Francis was struck by a sudden grotesque and terrible 
thought. 

" Torres," he said, " there is a key or something inside 
that stone lady's mouth there. You're the nearest. Stick 
your hand in and get it." 

Leoncia gasped with horror as she divined Francis' ven- 
geance. Of this Torres took no notice, and gaily waded 
toward the goddess, saying: "Only too glad to be of 
service." 

And then Francis' sense of fair play betrayed him. 

" Stop! " he commanded harshly, himself wading to the 
idol's side. 



HEARTS OF THREE 155 

And Torres, at first looking on in puzzlement, saw what 
he had escaped. Several times Francis fired his pistol 
into the stone mouth, while the old priest moaned " Sacri- 
lege!" Next, wrapping his coat around his arm and hand, 
he groped into the mouth and pulled out the wounded viper 
by the tail. With quick swings in the air he beat its 
head to a jelly against the goddess' side. 

Wrapping his hand and arm against the possibility of 
a second snake, Francis thrust his hand into the mouth 
and drew forth a piece of worked gold of the shape and size 
of the hole in Hzatzl's ear. The old man pointed to the 
ear, and Francis inserted the key. 

' Like a nickle-in-the-slot machine," he remarked, as 
the key disappeared from sight. " Now what's going to 
happen? Let's watch for the water to drain suddenly 
away." 

But the great stream continued to spout unabated out 
of the hole. With an exclamation, Torres pointed to the 
wall, an apparently solid portion of which was slowly rising. 

" The way out," said Torres. 

In, as the old man said," Francis corrected. ' Well, 
anyway, let's start." 

All were through and well along the narrow passage be- 
yond, when the old Maya, crying, " My son!" turned and 
ran back. 

The section of wall was already descending into its original 
place, and the priest had to crouch low in order to pass it. 
A moment later, it stopped in its old position. So accurately 
was it contrived and fitted that it immediately shut off the 
stream of water which had been flowing out of the idol room. 



Outside, save for a small river of water that flowed out of 
the base of the cliff, there were no signs of what was vexing 
the interior of the mountain. Henry and Ricardo, arriving, 
noted the stream, and Henry observed : 

1 That's something new. There wasn't any stream of 
water here when I left." 

A minute later he was saying, as he looked at a fresh slide 
of rock: " This was the entrance to the cave. Now there is 
no entrance. I wonder where the others are." 

As if in answer, out of the mountain, borne by the spouting 
stream, shot the body of a man. Henry and Ricardo pounced 
upon it and dragged it clear. Recognizing it for the priest, 



156 HEARTS OF THREE 

Henry laid him face downward, squatted astride of him, and 
proceeded to give him the first aid for the drowned. 

Not for ten minutes did the old man betray signs of life, 
and not until after another ten minutes did he open his eyes 
and look wildly about. 

' Where are they?" Henry asked. 

The old priest muttered in Maya, until Henry shook more 
thorough consciousness into him. 

" Gone all gone," he gasped in Spanish. 

' Who?" Henry demanded, shook memory into the re- 
suscitated one, and demanded again. 

" My son; Chia slew him. Chia slew my son, as she slew 
them all. 

' Who are the rest?" 

Followed more shakings and repetitions of the question. 

" The rich young Gringo who befriended my son, the 
enemy of the rich young Gringo whom men call Torres, and 
the young woman of the Solanos who was the cause of all 
that happened. I warned you. She should not have come. 
Women are always a curse in the affairs of men. By her 
presence, Chia, who is likewise a woman, was made angry. 
The tongue of Chia is a viperine. By her tongue Chia struck 
and slew my son, and the mountain vomited the ocean upon 
us there in the heart of the mountain, and all are dead, slain 
by Chia. Woe is me ! I have angered the gods. Woe is me I 
Woe is me ! And woe upon all who would seek the sacred 
treasure to filch it from the gods of Maya ! ' ' 



CHAPTEE XVI 

MIDWAY between the out-bursting stream of water and the 
rock-slide, Henry and Eicardo stood in hurried debate. Be- 
side them, crouched on the ground, moaned and prayed the 
last priest of the Mayas. From him, by numerous shakings 
that served to clear his addled old head, Henry had managed 
to extract a rather vague account of what had occurred inside 
the mountain. 

Only his son was bitten and fell into that hole," Henry 
reasoned hopefully. 

' That's right," Eicardo concurred. " He never saw any 
damage, beyond a wetting, happen to the rest of them," 

And they may be, right now, high up above the floor in 
some chamber," Henry went on. " Now, if we could attack 
the slide, we might open up the cave and drain the water 
off. If they're alive they can last for many days, for lack of 
water is what kills quickly, and they've certainly more water 
than they know what to do with. They can get along with- 
out food for a long time. But what gets me is how Torres 
got inside with them. ' ' 

Wonder if he wasn't responsible for that attack of the 
Caroos upon us," Eicardo suggested. 

But Henry scouted the idea. 

" Anyway," he said, " that isn't the present proposition 

which proposition is : how to get inside that mountain on 

the chance that they are still alive. You and I couldn't go 
through that slide in a month. If we could get fifty men to 
help, night and day shifts, we might open her up in forty- 
eight hours. So, the primary thing is to get the men. Here's 
what we must do. I'll take a mule and beat it back to that 
Caroo community and promise them the contents of one of 
Francis' check-books if they will come and help. Failing 
that, I can get up a crowd in San Antonio. So here's where 
I pull out on the run. In the meantime, you can work out 
trails and bring up all the mules, peons, grub and camp 

157 



158 HEAETS OF THEEE 

equipment. Also, keep your ears to the cliff they might 

start signalling through it with tappings." 



Into the village of the Caroos Henry forced his mule 

much to the reluctance of the mule, and equally as much to 
the astonishment of the Caroos, who thus saw their strong- 
hold invaded single-handed by one of the party they had 
attempted to annihilate. They squatted about their doors 
and loafed in the sunshine, under a show of lethargy hiding 
the astonishment that tingled through them and almost put 
them on their toes. As has been ever the way, the very 
daring of the white man, over savage and mongrel breeds, 
in this instance stunned the Caroos to inaction. Only a 
man, they could not help but reason in their slow way, a 
superior man, a noble or over-riding man, equipped with 
potencies beyond their dreaming, could dare to ride into their 
strength of numbers on a fagged and mutinous mule. 

They spoke a mongrel Spanish which he could understand, 
and, in turn, they understood his Spanish; but what he told 
them concerning the disaster in the sacred mountain had no 
effect of rousing them. With impassive faces, shrugging 
shoulders of utmost indifference, they listened to his proposi- 
tion of a rescue and promise of high pay for their time. 

" If a mountain has swallowed up the Gringos, then is it 
the will of God, and who are we to interfere between God 
and His will?" they replied. ' We are poor men, but we 
care not to work for any man, nor do we care to make war 
upon God. Also, it was the Gringos' fault. This is not their 
country. They have no right here playing pranks on our 
mountains. Their troubles are between them and God. We 
have troubles enough of our own, and our wives are unruly." 

Long after the siesta hour, on his third and most reluctant 
mule, Henry rode into sleepy San Antonio. In the main 
street, midway between the court and the jail, he pulled up 
at sight of the Jefe Politico and the little fat old judge, with, 
at their heels, a dozen gendarmes and a couple of wretched 

prisoners runaway peons from the henequen plantations 

at Santos. While the judge and the Jefe listened to Henry's 
tale and appeal for help, the Jefe gave one slow wink to the 
judge, who was his judge, his creature, body and soul of him. 

" Yes, certainly we will help you," the Jefe said at the 
end, stretching his arms and yawning. 



HEARTS OF THREE 159 

" How soon can we get the men together and start?" 
Henry demanded eagerly. 

" As for that, we are very busy are we not, honorable 

judge?" the Jefe replied with lazy insolence. 

" We are very busy," the judge yawned into Henry's face. 

" Too busy for a time," the Jefe went on. ' We regret 
that not to-morrow nor next day shall we be able to try and 
rescue your Gringos. Now, a little later " 

" Say next Christmas," the judge suggested. 

" Yes," concurred the Jefe with a grateful bow. " About 
next Christmas come around and see us, and, if the pressure 
of our affairs has somewhat eased, then, maybe possibly, we 
shall find it convenient to go about beginning to attempt to 
raise the expedition you have requested. In the meantime, 
good day to you, Senor Morgan." 

' You mean that?" Henry demanded with wrathful face. 
' The very face he must have worn when he slew Senor 
Alfaro Solano treacherously from the back," the Jefe solilo- 
quized ominously. 

But Henry ignored the later insult. 

; ' I'll tell you what you are," he flamed in righteous wrath. 

" Beware!" the judge cautioned him. 

" I snap my fingers at you,"' Henry retorted. ' You 
have no power over me. I am a full-pardoned man by the 
President of Panama himself. And this is what you are. 
You are half-breeds. You are mongrel pigs." 

" Pray proceed, Senor," said the Jefe, with the suave 
politeness of deathly rage. 

" You've neither the virtues of the Spaniard nor of the 
Carib, but the vices of both thrice compounded. Mongrel 
pigs, that's what you are and all you are, the pair of you." 

" Are you through Senor? quite through?" the Jefe 
queried softly. 

At the same moment he gave a signal to the gendarmes, 
who sprang upon Henry from behind and disarmed him. 

Even the President of the Republic of Panama cannot 

pardon in anticipation of a crime not yet committed am I 

right, judge?" said the Jefe. 

' This is afresh offense," the judge took the cue promptly. 
' This Gringo dog has blasphemed against the law." 

' Then shall he be tried, and tried now, right here, imme- 
diately. We will not bother io go back and reopen court. 
We shall try him, and when we have disposed of him, we 
shall proceed. I have a very good bottle of wine " 



160 HEARTS OF THREE 

" I care not for wine," the judge disclaimed hastily. 
" Mine shall be mescal. And in the meantime, and now, 
having been both witness and victim of the offense and there 
being no need of evidence further than what I already 
possess, I find the prisoner guilty. Is there anything you 
would suggest, Senor Mariano Vercara e Hijos?" 

' Twenty -four hours in the stocks to cool his heated Gringo 
head," the Jefe answered. 

!< Such is the sentence," the judge affirmed, " to begin at 
once. Take the prisoner away, gendarmes, and put him in 
the stocks." 



Daybreak found Henry in the stocks, with a dozen hours 
of such imprisonment already behind him, lying on his back 
asleep. But the sleep was restless, being vexed subjectively 
by nightmare dreams of his mountain-imprisoned com- 
panions, and, objectively, by the stings of countless mos- 
quitoes. So it was, twisting and squirming and striking at 
the winged pests, he awoke to full consciousness of his pre- 
dicament. And this awoke the full expression of his pro- 
fanity. Irritated beyond endurance by the poison from a 
thousand mosquito-bites, he filled the dawn so largely with 
his curses as to attract the attention of a man carrying a bag 
of tools. This was a trim-figured, eagle-faced young man, 
clad in the military garb of an aviator of the United States 
Army. He deflected his course so as to come by the stocks, 
and paused, and listened, and stared with quizzical admira- 
tion. 

" Friend," he said, when Henry ceased to catch breath. 

Last night, when I found myself marooned here with half 
my outfit left on board, I did a bit of swearing myself. But 
it was only a trifle compared with yours. I salute you, sir. 
You've an army teamster skinned a mile. Now if you don't 
mind running over the string again, I shall be better equipped 
the next time I want to do any cussing." 

" And who in hell are you?" Henry demanded. " And 
what in hell are you doing here?" 

' I don't blame you," the aviator grinned. " With a face 
swollen like that you've got a right to be rude. And who 
beat you up? In hell, I haven't ascertained my status yet. 
But here on earth I am known as Parsons, Lieutenant Par- 
sons. I am not doing anything in hell as yet; but here in 
Panama I am scheduled to fly across this day from the 



HEARTS OF THREE 161 

Atlantic to the Pacific. Is there any way I may serve you 
before I start?" 

" Sure," Henry nodded. ' Take a tool out of that bag of 
yours and smash this padlock. Ill get rheumatism if I have 
to stick here much longer. My name's Morgan, and no man 
has beaten me up. Those are mosquito-bites." 

With several blows of a wrench, Lieutenant Parsons 
smashed the ancient padlock and helped Henry to his feet. 
Even while rubbing the circulation back into his feet and 
ankles, Henry, in a rush, was telling the army aviator of the 
predicament and possibly tragic disaster to Leoncia and 
Francis. 

" I love that Francis," he concluded. " He is the dead 
spit of myself. We're more like twins, and we must be dis- 
tantly related. As for the senorita, not only do I love her but 
I am engaged to marry her. Now will you help? Where's 
the machine ? It takes a long time to get to the Maya Moun- 
tain on foot or mule-back ; but if you give me a lift in your 
machine I'd be there in no time, along with a hundred sticks 
of dynamite, which you could procure for me and with which 
I could blow the side out of that mountain and drain off the 
water. ' ' 

Lieutenant Parsons hesitated. 

" Say yes, say yes," Henry pleaded. 



Back in the heart of the sacred mountain, the three im- 
prisoned ones found themselves in total darkness the instant 
the stone that blocked the exit from the idol chamber had 
settled into place. Francis and Leoncia groped for each other 
and touched hands. In another moment his arm was around 
her, and the deliciousness of the contact robbed the situation 
of half its terror. Near them they could hear Torres 
breathing heavily. At last he muttered: 

".Mother of God, but that was a close shave ! What next, 
I wonder?" 

' There'll be many nexts before we get out of this neck of 
the woods," Francis assured him. " And we might as well 
start getting out. ' ' 

The method of procedure was quickly arranged. Placing 
Leoncia behind him, her hand clutching the hem of his 
jacket so as to be guided by him, he moved ahead with his 
left hand in contact with the wall. Abreast of him, Torres 
felt his way along the right-hand wall. By their voices 



162 HEARTS OF THREE 

they could thus keep track of each other, measure the width 
of the passage, and guard against being separated into forked 
passages. Fortunately, the tunnel, for tunnel it truly was, 
had a smooth floor, so that, while they groped their way, 
they did not stumble. Francis refused to use his matches 
unless extremity arose, and took precaution against falling 
into a possible pit by cautiously advancing one foot at a time 
and ascertaining solid stone under it ere putting on his weight. 
As a result, their progress was slow. At no greater speed 
than half a mile an hour did they proceed. 

Once only did they encounter branching passages. Here 
he lighted a precious match from his waterproof case, and 
found that between the two passages there was nothing to 
choose. They were as like as two peas. 

' The only way is to try one," he concluded, " and, if it 
gets us nowhere, to retrace and try the other. There's one 
thing certain: these passages lead somewhere, or the Mayas 
wouldn't have gone to all the trouble of making them." 

Ten minutes later he halted suddenly and cried warning. 
The foot he had advanced was suspended in emptiness where 
the floor should have been. Another match was struck, and 
they found themselves on the edge of a natural cavern of 
such proportions that neither to right nor left, nor up nor 
down, nor across, could the tiny flame expose any limits to 
it. But they did manage to make out a rough sort of stair- 
way, half-natural, half-improved by man, which fell away 
beneath them into the pit of black. 

In another hour, having followed the path down the length 
of the floor of the cavern, they were rewarded by a feeble 
glimmer of daylight, which grew stronger as they advanced. 

Before they knew it, they had come to the source of it 

being much nearer than they had judged; and Francis, tear- 
ing away vines and shrubbery, crawled out into the blaze of 
the afternoon sun. In a moment Leoncia and Torres were 
beside him, gazing down into a valley from an eyrie on a 
cliff. Nearly circular was the valley, a full league in diameter, 
and it appeared to be mountain -walled and cliff-walled for 
its entire circumference. 

" It is the Valley of Lost Souls," Torres utterly solemnly. 
" I have heard of it, but never did I believe." 

" So have I heard of it and never believed," Leoncia 



And what of it?" demanded Francis. We're not lost 
souls, but good flesh-and-blood persons. We should worry." 



HEARTS OF THREE 163 

" But Francis, listen," Leoncia said. " The tales I have 
heard of it, ever since I was a little girl, all agreed that no 
person who ever got into it ever got out again." 

" Granting that that is so," Francis could not help smil- 
ing, " then how did the tales come out? If nobody ever 
came out again to tell about it, how does it happen that 
everybody outside knows about it?" 

" I don't know," Leoncia admitted. " I only tell you 
what I have heard. Besides, I never believed. But this 
answers all the descriptions of the tales." 

" Nobody ever got out," Torres affirmed with the same 
solemn utterance. 

" Then how do you know that anybody got in?" Francis 
persisted. 

" All the lost souls live here," was the reply. ' That is 
why we've never seen them, because they never got out. I 
tell you, Mr. Francis Morgan, that I am no creature without 
reason. I have been educated. I have studied in Europe, 
and I have done business in your own New York. I know 
science and philosophy; and yet do I know that this is the 
valley, once in, from which no one emerges." 

" Well, we're not in yet, are we?" retorted Francis with 
a slight manifestation of impatience. " And we don't have 
to go in, do we?" He crawled forward to the verge of the 
shelf of loose soil and crumbling stone in order to get a better 
view of the distant object his eye had just picked out. " If 
that isn't a grass-thatched roof " 

At that moment the soil broke away under his hands. In 
a flash, the whole soft slope on which they rested broke 
away, and all three were sliding and rolling down the steep 
slope in the midst of a miniature avalanche of soil, gravel, 
and grass-tufts. 

The two men picked themselves up first, in the thicket of 
bushes which had arrested them; but, before they could get 
to Leoncia, she, too, was up and laughing. 

" Just as you were saying we didn't have to go into the 
valley!" she gurgled at Francis. " Now will you believe?" 

But Francis was busy. Beaching out his hand, he caught 
and stopped a familiar object bounding down the steep slope 
after them. It was Torres' helmet purloined from the cham- 
ber of mummies, and to Torres he tossed it. 
' Throw it away," Leoncia said. 

It's the only protection against the sun I possess," was 
his reply, as, turning it over in his hands, his eyes lighted 



164 HEARTS OF THREE 

upon an inscription on the inside. He showed it to his com- 
panions, reading it aloud : 

" DA VASCO." 

I have heard," Leoncia breathed. 

And you heard right," Torres nodded. " Da Vasco was 
my direct ancestor. My mother was a Da Vasco. He came 
over the Spanish Main with Cortez." 

He mutined," Leoncia took up the tale. " I remember 
it well from my father and from my Uncle Alfaro. With a 
dozen comrades he sought the Maya treasure. They led a 
sea-tribe of Caribs, an hundred strong including their women, 
as auxiliaries. Mendoza, under Cortez 's instructions, pur- 
sued; and his report, in the archives, so Uncle Alfaro told 
me, says that they were driven into the Valley of the Lost 
Souls where they were left to perish miserably." 

" And he evidently tried to get out by the way we've just 
come in," Torres continued, " and the Mayas caught him 
and made a mummy of him." 

He jammed the ancient helmet down on his head, saying : 

rf Low as the sun is in the afternoon sky, it bites my 
crown like acid." 

" And famine bites at me like acid," Francis confessed. 
" Is the valley inhabited?" 

" I should know, Senor," Torres replied. " There is the 
narrative of Mendoza, in which he reported that Da Vasco 
and his party were left there ' to perish miserably. ' This I 
do know : they were never seen again of men." 

' ' Looks as though plenty of food could be grown in a place 

like this ; " Brancis began, but broke off at sight! of Leoncia. 

picking berries from a bush. " Here! Stop that, Leoncia! 
We've got enough troubles without having a very charming 
but very much poisoned young woman on our hands." 

" They're all right, she said, calmly eating. ' You can 
see where the birds have been pecking and eating them." 

" In which case I apologize and join you," Francis cried, 
filling his mouth with the luscious fruit. " And if I could 
catch the birds that did the pecking, I'd eat them too." 

By the time they had eased the sharpest of their hunger- 
pangs, the sun was so low that Torres removed the helmet 
of Da Vasco. 

" We might as well stop here for the night," he said. " I 
left my shoes in the cave with the mummies, and lost Da 



HEARTS OF THREE 165 

Vasco's old boots during the swimming. My feet are cut to 
ribbons, and there's plenty of seasoned grass here out of 
which I can plait a pair of sandals." 

While occupied with this task, Francis built a fire and 
gathered a supply of wood, for, despite the low latitude, the 
high altitude made fire a necessity for a night's lodging. Ere 
he had completed the supply, Leoncia, curled up on her side, 
her head in the hollow of her arm, was sound asleep. Against 
the side of her away from the fire, Francis thoughtfully 
packed a mound of dry leaves and dry forest mould. 



CHAPTER XVII 

DAYBKE\IX in the Valley of the Lost Souls, and the Long 
House in the village of the Tribe of the Lost Souls. Fully 
eighty feet in length was the Long House, with half as much 
in width, built of adobe bricks, and rising thirty feet to a 
gable roof thatched with straw. Out of the house feebly 

walked the Priest of the Sun an old man, tottery on his 

legs, sandal-footed, clad in a long robe of rude homespun 
cloth, in whose withered Indian face were haunting reminis- 
cences of the racial lineaments of the ancient conquistadores. 
On his head was a curious cap of gold, arched over by a 
semi-circle of polished golden spikes. The effect was obvious, 
namely, the rising sun and the rays of the rising sun. 

He tottered across the open space to where a great hollow 
log swung suspended between two posts carved with totemic 
and heraldic devices. He glanced at the eastern horizon, 
already red with the dawning, to reassure himself that he 
was on time, lifted a stick, the end of which was fiber-woven 
into a ball, and struck the hollow log. Feeble as he was, and 
light as was the blow, the hollow log boomed and reverber- 
ated like distant thunder. 

Almost immediately, while he continued slowly to beat, 
from the grass-thatched dwellings that formed the square 
about the Long House, emerged the Lost Souls. Men and 
women, old and young, and children and babes in arms, they 
all came out and converged upon the Sun Priest. No more 
archaic spectacle could be witnessed in the twentieth-century 
world. Indians, indubitably they w T ere, yet in many of their 
faces were the racial reminiscences of the Spaniard. Some 
faces, to all appearance, were all Spanish. Others, by the 
same token, were all Indian. But betwixt and between, the 
majority of them betrayed the inbred blend of both races. 

But more bizarre was their costume unremarkable in 

the women, who were garbed in long, discreet robes of home- 
spun cloth, but most remarkable in the men, whose home.- 

-166 






HEARTS OF THREE 167 

spun was grotesquely fashioned after the style of Spanish 
dress that obtained in Spain at the time of Columbus' first 
voyage. Homely and sad-looking were the men and women 
as of a breed too closely interbred to retain joy of life. 
This was true of the youths and maidens, of the children, 

and of the very babes against breasts true, with the 

exception of two, one, a child-girl of ten, in whose face was 
fire, and spirit, and intelligence. Amongst the sodden faces 
of the sodden and stupid Lost Souls, her face stood out like 
a flaming flower. Only like hers was the face of the old Sun 
Priest, cunning, crafty, intelligent. 

While the priest continued to beat the resounding log, 
the entire tribe formed about him in a semi-circle, facing the 
east. As the sun showed the edge of its upper rim, the priest 
greeted it and hailed it with a quaint and medieval Spanish, 
himself making low obeisance thrice repeated, while the 
tribe prostrated itself. And, when the full sun shone clear of 
the horizon, all the tribe, under the direction of the priest, 
arose and uttered a joyful chant. Just as he had dismissed 
his people, a thin pillar of smoke, rising in the quiet air 
across the valley, caught the priest's eye. He pointed it out, 
and commanded several of the young men. 

" It rises in the Forbidden Place of Fear where no mem- 
ber of the tribe may wander. It is some devil of a pursuer 
sent out by our enemies who have vainly sought our hiding- 
place through the centuries. He must not escape to make 
report, for our enemies are powerful, and we shall be de- 
stroyed. Go. Kill him that we may not be killed." 



About the fire, which had been replenished at intervals 
throughout the night, Leoncia, Francis, and Torres lay 
asleep, the latter with his new-made sandals on his feet and 
with the helmet of Da Vasco pulled tightly down on his head 
to keep off the dew. Leoncia was the first to awaken, and 
so curious was the scene that confronted her, that she 
watched quietly through her do wn- dropped lashes. Three 
of the strange Lost Tribe men, bows still stretched and 
arrows drawn in what was evident to her as the interrupted 
act of slaying her and her companions, were staring with 
amazement at the face of the unconscious Torres. They 
looked at each other in doubt, let their bows straighten, and 
shook their heads in patent advertisement that they were not 
going to kill. Closer they crept upon Torres, squatting on 



168 HEAETS OF THREE 

their hams the better to scrutinize his face and the helmet, 
which latter seemed to arouse their keenest interest. 

From where she lay, Leoncia was able privily to nudge 
Francis' shoulder with her foot. He awoke quietly, and 
quietly sat up, attracting the attention of the strangers. 
Immediately they made the universal peace sign, laying 
down their bows and extending their palms outward in token 
of being weaponless. 

" Good morning, merry strangers," Francis addressed 
them in English, which made them shake their heads while 
it aroused Torres. 

' They must be Lost Souls," Leoncia whispered to 
Francis. 

" Or real estate agents," he smiled back. " At least the 
valley is inhabited. Torres, who 're your friends? From 
the way they regard you, one would think they were relatives 
of yours." 

Quite ignoring them, the three Lost Souls drew apart a 
slight distance and debated in low sibilant tones. 

" Sounds like a queer sort of Spanish," Francis observed. 
' It's medieval, to say the least," Leoncia confirmed. 

" It's the Spanish of the conquistadores pretty badly gone 
to seed," Torres contributed. " You see I was right. The 
Lost Souls never get away." 

" At any rate they must give and be given in marriage," 
Francis quipped, " else how explain these three young 
huskies?" 

But by this time the three huskies, having reached agree- 
ment, were beckoning them with encouraging gestures to 
follow across the valley. 

' They're good-natured and friendly cusses, to say the 
least, despite their sorrowful mug," said Francis, as they 
prepared to follow. But did you ever see a sadder-faced 
aggregation in your life ? They must have been born in the 
dark of the moon, or had all their sweet gazelles die, or some- 
thing or other worse. " 

" It's just the kind of faces one would expect of lost 
souls," Leoncia answered. 

11 And if we never get out of here, I suppose we'll get to 
looking a whole lot sadder than they do," he came back. 
" Anyway, I hope they're leading us to breakfast. Those 
berries were better than nothing, but that is not saying 
much." 

An hour or more afterward, still obediently following their 



HEAETS OF THREE 169 

guides, they emerged upon the clearings, the dwelling places, 
and the Long House of the tribe. 

" These are descendants of Da Vasco's party and the 
Caribs," Torres affirmed, as he glanced over the assembled 
faces. " That is incontrovertible on the face of it." 

"And they've relapsed from the Christian religion of 
Da Vasco to old heathen worship," added Francis. " Look 

at that altar there. It's a stone altar, and, from the 

smell of it, that is no breakfast, but a sacrifice that is 
cooking, in spite of the fact that it smells like mutton." 

" Thank heaven it's only a lamb," Leoncia breathed. 
" The old Sun Worship included human sacrifice. And 
this is Sun Worship. See that old man there in the long 
shroud with the golden-rayed cap of gold. He's a sun 
priest. Uncle Alfaro has told me all about the sun-wor- 
shipers." 

Behind and above the altar, was a great metal image of 
the sun. 

" Gold, all gold," Francis whispered, " and without 
alloy. Look at those spikes, the size of them, yet so pure 
is the metal that I wager a child could bend them any way 
it wished and even tie knots in them." 

Merciful God! look at that!" Leoncia gasped, indicat- 
ing with her eyes a crude stone bust that stood to one 
side of the altar and slightly lower. "It is the face 
of Torres. It is the face of the mummy in the Maya 
cave." 

" And there is an inscription " Francis stepped 

closer to see and was peremptorily waved back by the 
priest. "It says, 'Da Vasco.' Notice that it has the 
same sort of helmet that Torres is wearing. And, say ! 
Glance at the priest ! If he doesn't look like Torres' full 
brother, I've never fancied a resemblance in my life!" 

The priest, with angry face and imperative gesture, mo- 
tioned Francis to silence, and made obeisance to the cooking 
sacrifice. As if in response, a flaw of wind put out the 
flame of the cooking. 

" The Sun God is angry," the priest announced with 
great solemnity, his queer Spanish nevertheless being in- 
telligible to the newcomers. " Strangers have come among 
us and remain unslain. That is why the Sun God is angry. 
Speak, you young men who have brought the strangers 
alive to our altar. Was not my bidding, which is ever 



170 HEARTS OF THREE 

and always the bidding of the Sun God, that you should 
slay them?" 

One of the three young men stepped tremblingly forth, 
and with trembling forefingers pointed at the face of Torres 
and at the face of the stone bust. 

' We recognised him," he quavered, " and we could 
not slay him for we remembered prophecy and that our 
great ancestor would some day return. Is this stranger 
he? We do not know. W T e dare not know nor judge. 
Yours, priest, is the knowledge, and yours be the judg- 
ment. Is this he?" 

The priest looked closely at Torres and exclaimed in- 
coherently. Turning his back abruptly, he rekindled the 
sacred cooking fire from a pot of fire at the base of an 
altar. But the fire flamed up, flickered down, and died. 

" The Sun God is angry," the priest reiterated; whereat 
the Lost Souls beat their breasts and moaned and lamented. 
" The sacrifice is unacceptable, for the fire will not burn. 
Strange things are afoot. This is a matter of the deeper 
mysteries which I alone may know. We shall not sacrifice 
the strangers . . . now. I must take time to inform 
myself of the Sun God's will. 

With his hands he waved the tribespeople away, ceasing 
the ceremonial half-completed, and directed that the three 
captives be taken into the Long House. 

" I can't follow the play," Francis whispered in Leoncia's 
ear, but just the same I hope here's where we eat." 

" Look at that pretty little girl," said Leoncia, indicating 
with her eyes the child with the face of fire and spirit. 

" Torres has already spotted her," Francis whispered 
back. "I caught him winking at her. He doesn't know 
the play, nor which way the cat will jump, but he isn't 
missing a chance to make friends. We'll have to keep 
an eye on him, for he's a treacherous hound and capable of 
throwing us over any time if it would serve to save his 
skin." 

Inside the Long House, seated on rough-plaited mats of 
grass, they found themselves quickly served with food. 
Clear drinking water and a thick stew of meat and vege- 
tables were served in generous quantity in queer, unglazed 
pottery jars. Also, they were given hot cakes of ground 
Indian corn that were not altogether unlike tortillas. 

After the women who served had departed, the little 
girl, who had led them and commanded them, remained. 



HEARTS OF THREE 171 

Torres resumed his overtures, but she, graciously ignoring 
him, devoted herself to Leoncia who seemed to fascinate 
her. 

" She's a sort of hostess, I take it," Francis explained. 
" You know like the maids of the village in Samoa, who 
entertain all travellers and all visitors of no matter how 
high rank, and who come pretty close to presiding at all 
functions and ceremonials. They are selected by the high 
chiefs for their beauty, their virtue, and their intelligence. 
And this one reminds me very much of them, except that 
she's so awfully young." 

Closer she came to Leoncia, and, fascinated though she 
patently was by the beautiful strange woman, in her 
bearing of approach there was no hint of servility nor sense 
of inferiority. 

" Tell me," she said, in the quaint archaic Spanish of 
the valley, " is that man really Capitan Da Vasco returned 
from his home in the sun in the sky?" 

Torres smirked and bowed, and proclaimed proudly : " I 
am a Da Vasco/' 

" Not a Da Vasco, but Da Vasco himself," Leoncia 
coached him in English. 

"It's a good bet play it I" Francis commanded, like- 
wise in English. " It may pull us all out of a hole. I'm 
not particularly stuck on that priest, and he seems th 
high-cockalorum over these Lost Souls." 

" I have at last come back from the sun," Torres told 
the little maid, taking his cue. 

She favored him with a long and unwavering look, in 
which they could see her think, and judge, and appraise. 
Then, with expressionless face, she bowed to him respect- 
fully, and, with scarcely a glance at Francis, turned to 
Leoncia and favored her with a friendly smile that was an 
illumination. 

" I did not know that God made women so beautiful 
as you," the little maid said softly, ere she turned to go 
out. At the door she paused to add, " The Lady Who 
Dreams is beautiful, but she is strangely different from 
you." 

But hardly had she gone, when the Sun Priest, followed 
by a number of young men, entered, apparently for the pur- 
pose of removing the dishes and the uneaten food. Even 
as some of them were in the act of bending over to pick 
up the dishes, at a signal -from the priest they sprang upon 



172 HEARTS OF THREE 

the three guests, bound their hands and arms securely 
behind them, and led them out to the Sun God's altar 
before the assembled tribe. Here, where they observed 
a crucible on a tripod over a fierce fire, they were tied to 
fresh-sunken posts, while many eager hands heaped fuel 
about them to their knees. 

"Now buck up be as haughty as a real Spaniard!" 
Francis at the same time instructed and insulted Torres. 
" You're Da Vasco himself. Hundreds of years before, you 
were here on earth in this very valley with the ancestors 
of these mongrels." 

" You must die," the Sun Priest was now addressing 
them, while the Lost Souls nodded unanimously. " For 
four hundred years, as we count our sojourn in this valley, 
have we slain all strangers. You were not slain, and 
behold the instant anger of the Sun God: our altar fire 
went out." The Lost Souls moaned and howled and 
pounded their chests. ;< Therefore, to appease the Sun 
God, you shall now die." 

"Beware!" Torres proclaimed, prompted in whispers, 
sometimes by Francis, sometimes by Leoncia. " I am Da 
Vasco. I have just come from the sun." He nodded with 
his head, because of his tied hands, at the stone bust. ' " I 
am that Da Vasco. I led your ancestors here four hundred 
years ago, and I left you here, commanding you to remain 
until my return." 

The Sun Priest hesitated. 

' Well," priest, speak up and answer the divine Da 
Vasco," Francis spoke harshly. 

" How do I know that he is divine?" the priest coun- 
tered quickly. "Do I not look much like him myself? 
Am I therefore divine ? Am I Da Vasco ? Is he Da Vasco ? 
Or may not Da Vasco be yet in the sun ? for truly I know 
that I am man born of woman three-score and eighteen 
years ago and that I am not Da Vasco." 

" You have not spoken to Da Vasco!" Francis threat- 
ened, as he bowed in vast humility to Torres and hissed 
at him in English: " Be haughty, damn you, be haughty." 

The priest wavered for the moment, and then addressed 
Torres. 

"I am the faithful priest of the sun. Not lightly can 
I relinquish my trust. If you are the divine Da Vasco, then 
answer me one question." 

Torres nodded with magnificent haughtiness. 



HEARTS OF THREE 173 

' Do you love gold?" 

14 Love gold!" Torres jeered. " I am a great captain 
in the sun, and the sun is made of gold. Gold? It is like 
to me this dirt beneath my feet and the rock of which your 
mighty mountains are composed." 

' Bravo," Leoncia whispered approval. 
' Then, divine Da Yasco," the Sun Priest said humbly, 
although he could not quite muffle the ring of triumph in 
his voice, " are you fit to pass the ancient and usual 
test. When you have drunk the drink of gold, and can 
still say that you are Da Vasco, then will I, and all of 
us, bow down and worship you. We have had occasional 
intruders in this valley. Always did they come athirst for 
gold. But when we had satisfied their thirst, inevitably 
they thirsted no more, for they were dead." 

As he spoke, while the Lost Souls looked on eagerly, 
and while the three strangers looked on with no less keen- 
ness of apprehension, the priest thrust his hand into the 
open mouth of a large leather bag and began dropping 
handfuls of gold nuggets into the heated crucible of the 
tripod. So near were they, that they could see the gold 
melt into fluid and rise up in the crucible like the drink it 
was intended, to be. 

The little maid, daring on her extraordinary position in 
the Lost Souls Tribe, came yp to the Sun Priest and spoke 
that all might hear. 

" That is Da Vasco, the Capitan Da Vasco, the divine 
Capitan da Vasco, who led our ancestors here the long long 
time ago." 

The priest tried to silence her with a frown. But the 
maid repeated her statement, pointing eloquently from the 
bust to Torres and back again; and the priest felt his grip 
on the situation slipping, while inwardly he cursed the 
sinful love of the mother of the liftle girl which had made 
her his daughter. 

"Hush!" he commanded sternly. "These are things 
of which you know nothing. If he be the Capitan Da 
Vasco, being divine he will drink the gold and be un- 
harmed." 

Into a rude pottery pitcher, which had been heated in the 
pot of fire at the base of the altar, he poured the molten 
gold. At a signal, several of the young men laid aside their 
spears, and, with the evident intention of prying her teeth 
apart, advanced on Leoncia. 



174 HEARTS OF THREE 

"Hold, priest!" Francis shouted stentoriously. "She 
is not divine as Da Vasco is divine. Try the golden drink 
on Da Vasco." 

Whereat Torres bestowed upon Francis a look of malig- 
nant anger. 

" Stand on your haughty pride," Francis instructed him. 
" Decline the drink. Show them the inside of your 
helmet." 

" I will not drink!" Torres cried, half in a panic as the 
priest turned to him. 

' You shall drink. If you are Da Vasco, the divine capi- 
tan from the sun, we will then know it and we will fall 
down and worship you." 

Torres looked appeal at Francis, which the priest's narrow 
eyes did not fail to catch. 

" Looks as though you'll have to drink it," Francis said 
dryly. " Anyway, do it for the lady's sake and die like a 
hero." 

With a sudden violent strain at the cords that bound 
him, Torres jerked one hand free, pulled off his helmet, 
and held it so that the priest could gaze inside. 

" Behold what is graven therein," Torres commanded. 

Such was the priest's startlement at sight of the inscrip- 
tion, DA VASCO, that the pitcher fell from his hand. The 
molten gold, spilling forth, set the dry debris on the ground 
afire-, while one of the spearmen, spattered on the foot, 
danced away with wild yells of pain. But the Sun Priest 
quickly recovered himself. Seizing the fire pot, he was 
about to set fire to the faggots heaped about his three 
victims, when the little maid intervened. 

" The Sun God would not let the great captain drink 
the drink," she said. " The Sun God spilled it from your 
hand." 

And when all the Lost Souls began to murmur that there 
was more in the matter than appeared to their priest, the 
latter was compelled to hold his hand. Nevertheless was he 
resolved on the destruction of the three intruders. So, 
craftily, he addressed his people. 

" We shall wait for a sign. Bring oil. We will give the 
Sun God time for a sign. Bring a candle." 

Pouring the jar of oil over the faggots to make them 
more inflammable, he set the lighted stub of a candle in 
the midst of the saturated fuel, and said: 



HEARTS OF THREE 175 

" The life of the candle will be the duration of the 
time for the sign. Is it well, People?" 

And all the Lost Souls murmured, "It is well." 

Torres looked appeal to Francis, who replied : 

" The old brute certainly pinched on the length of 
the candle. It won't last five minutes at best, and, maybe, 
inside three minutes we'll be going up in smoke." 

" What can we do?" Torres demanded frantically, while 
Leoncia looked bravely, with a sad brave smile of love, 
into Francis' eyes. 

" Pray for rain," Francis answered. " And the sky is 
as clear as a bell. After that, die game. Don't squeal too 
loud." 

And his eyes returned to Leoncia's and expressed what 

he had never dared express to her before his full heart 

of love. Apart, by virtue of the posts to which they were 
tied and which separated them, they had never been so 
close together, and the bond that drew them and united 
them was their eyes. 

First of all, the little maid, gazing into the sky for the 
sign, saw it. Torres, who had eyes only for the candle 
stub, nearly burned to its base, heard the maid's cry and 
looked up. And at the same time he heard, as all of them 
heard, the droning flight as of some monstrous insect in 
the sky. 

"An aeroplane," Francis muttered. " Torres, claim it 
for the sign." 

But no need to claim was necessary. Above them not 
more than a hundred feet, it swooped and circled, the 
first aeroplane the Lost Souls had ever seen, while from it, 
like a benediction from heaven, descended the familiar : 

" Back to back against the mainmast, 
Held at bay the entire crew." 

Completing the circle and rising to an elevation of nearly 
a thousand feet, they saw an object detach itself directly 
overhead, fall like a plummet for three hundred feet, then 
expand into a spread parachute, with beneath i^ like a 
spider suspended on a web, the form of a man, which last, 
as it neared the ground, again began to sing : 

1 Back to back against the mainmast, 
Held at bay the entire crew." 



176 HEARTS OF THREE 

And then event crowded on event with supremest 
rapidity. The stub of the candle fell apart, the flaming 
wick fell into the tiny lake of molten fat, the lake flamed, 
and the oil-saturated faggots about it flamed. And Henry, 
landing in the thick of the Lost Souls, blanketing a goodly 
portion of them under his parachute, in a couple of leaps 
was beside his friends and kicking the blazing faggots 
right and left. Only for a second did he desist. This was 
when the Sun Priest interfered. A right hook to the jaw 
put that aged confidant of God down on his back, and, 
while he slowly recuperated and crawled to his feet, Henry 
slashed clear the lashings that bound Leoncia, Francis, and 
Torres. His arms were out to embrace Leoncia, when she 
thrust him away with: 

" Quick! There is no time for explanation. Down on 

your knees to Torres and pretend you are his slave and 

don't talk Spanish; talk English." 

Henry could not comprehend, and, while Leoncia re- 
assured him with her eyes, he saw Francis prostrate himself 
at the feet of their common enemy. 

" Gee!" Henry muttered, as he joined Francis. " Here 
goes. But it's worse than rat poison." 

Leoncia followed him, and all the Lost Souls went down 
prone before the Capitan Da Vasco who received in their 
midst celestial messengers direct from the sun. All went 
down, except the priest, who, mightily shaken, was meditat- 
ing doing it, when the mocking devil of melodrama in 
Torres' soul prompted him to overdo his part. 

As haughtily as Francis had coached him, he lifted his 
right foot and placed it down on Henry's neck, incidentally 
covering and pinching most of his ear. 

And Henry literally went up in the air. 
'You can't step on my ear, Torres!" he shouted, at 
the same time dropping him, as he had dropped the priest 
with his right hook. 

" And now the beans are spilled," Francis commented 
in dry and spiritless disgust. " The Sun God stuff is 
finished right here and now." 

The Sun Priest, exultantly signaling his spearmen, 
grasped the situation. But Henry dropped the muzzle of 
his automatic pistol to the old priest's midrif; and the 
priest, remembering the legends of deadly missiles propelled 
by the mysterious substance called " gunpowder," smiled 
appeasingly and waved back his spearmen. 



HEARTS OF THREE 177 

' This is beyond my powers of wisdom and judgment," 
he addressed his tribespeople, while ever his wavering glance 
returned to the muzzle of Henry's pistol. " I shall appeal 
to the last resort. Let the messenger be sent to wake the 
Lady Who Dreams. Tell her that strangers from the sky, 
and, mayhap, the sun, are here in our valley. And that 
only the wisdom of her far dreams will make clear to us 
what we do not understand, and what even I do not under- 
stand." 



CHAPTEE XVIII 

CONVOYED by the spearmen, the party of Leoncia, the two 
Morgans, and Torres, was led through the pleasant fields, 
all under a high state of primitive cultivation, and on across 
running streams and through woodland stretches and knee 
deep pastures where grazed cows of so miniature a breed 
that, full-grown, they were no larger than young calves. 

' They're milch cows without mistake," Henry com- 
mented. " And they're perfect beauties. But did you ever 
see such dwarfs ! A strong man could lift up the biggest 
specimen and walk off with it." 

" Don't fool yourself," Francis spoke up. " Take that 
one over there, the black one. I'll wager it's not an ounce 
under three hundredweight." 

' How much will you wager?" Henry challenged. 

' Name the bet," was the reply. 

" Then a hundred even," Henry stated, " that I can lift it 
up and walk away with it." 

" Done." 

But the bet was never to be decided, for the instant Henry 
left the path he was poked back by the spearmen, who 
scowled and made signs that they were to proceed straight 
ahead. 

Where the way came to lead past the foot of a very rugged 
cliff, they saw above them many goats. 

' Domesticated," said Francis. " Look at the herd boys." 

" I was sure it was goat-meat in that stew," Henry 
nodded. " I always did like goats. If the Lady Who 
Dreams, whoever she may be, vetoes the priest and lets us 
live, and if we have to stay with the Lost Souls for the rest 
of our days, I'm going to petition to be made master goat- 
herd of the realm, and I'll build you a nice little cottage, 
Leoncia, and you can become the Exalted Cheese-maker to 
the Queen." 

JJut he did not whimsically wander farther, for, at that 

178 



HEARTS OF THREE 179 




3Jaculaticn of appreciation from Torres. Fully 
a mile in length it stretched, with more than half the same 
in width, and was a perfect oval. With one exception, no 
habitation broke the fringe of trees, bamboo thickets, and 
rushes that circled its shore, even along the foot of the cliff 
where the bamboo was exceptionally luxuriant. On the 
placid surface was so vividly mirrored the surrounding 
mountains that the eye could scarcely discern where reality 
ended and reflection began. 

In the midst of her rapture over the perfect reflection, 
Leoncia broke off to exclaim her disappointment in that the 
water was not crystal clear: 

' What a pity it is so muddy !" 

" That's because of the wash of the rich soil of the valley 
floor," Henry elucidated. " It's hundreds of feet deep, that 
soil." 

' The whole valley must have been a lake at some time," 
Francis concurred. " Run your eye along the cliff and see 
the old water-lines. I wonder what made it shrink." 

" Earthquake, most likely opened up some subterranean 

exit and drained it off to its present level and keeps on 

draining it, too. Its rich chocolate color shows the amount 
of water that flows in all the time, and that it doesn't have 
much chance to settle. It's the catch-basin for the entire 
circling watershed of the valley." 

" Well, there's one house at least," Leoncia was saying 
five minutes later, as they rounded an angle of the cliff and 
saw, tucked against the cliff and extending out over the 
water, a low-roofed bungalow-like dwelling. 

The piles were massive tree-trunks, but the walls of the 
house were of bamboo, and the roof was thatched with grass- 
straw. So isolated was it, that the only access, except by 
boat, was a twenty-foot bridge so narrow that two could not 
walk on it abreast. At either end of the bridge, evidently 
armed guards or sentries, stood two young men of the tribe. 
They moved aside, at a gesture of command from the Sun 
Priest, and let the party pass, although the two Morgans did 
not fail to notice that the spearmen who had accompanied 
them from the, Long House remained beyond the bridge. 

Across the bridge and entered into the bungalow-like 
dwelling on stilts, they found themselves in a large room 
better furnished, crude as the furnishings were, than they 



180 HEARTS OF THREE 

would have expected in the Valley of Lost Souls. The grass 
mats on the floor were of fine and careful weave, and the 
shades of split bamboo that covered the window-openings 
were of patient workmanship. At the far end, against the 
wall, was a huge golden emblem of the rising sun similar to 
the one before the altar by the Long House. But by far 
most striking, were two living creatures who strangely in- 
habited the place and who scarcely moved. Beneath the 
rising sun, raised above the floor on a sort of dais, was a 
many-pillowed divan that was half -throne. And on the 
divan, among the pillows, clad in a softly-shimmering robe 
of some material no one of them had seen before, reclined 
a sleeping woman. Only her breast softly rose and softly fell 
to her breathing. No Lost Soul was she, of the inbred and 
degenerate mixture of Carib and Spaniard. On her head was 
a tiara of beaten gold and sparkling gems so large that almost 
it seemed a crown. 

Before her, on the floor, were two tripods of gold the 

one containing smouldering fire, the other, vastly larger, a 
golden bowl fully a fathom in diameter. Between the 
tripods, resting with outstretched paws like the Sphinx, with 
unblinking eyes and without a quiver, a great dog, snow- 
white of coat and resembling a Russian wolf-hound, sted- 
fastly regarded the intruders. 

" She looks like a lady, and seems like a queen, and cer- 
tainly dreams to the queen's taste," Henry whispered, and 
earned a scowl from the Sun Priest. 

Leoncia was breathless, but Torres shuddered and crossed 
himself, and said: 

" This I have never heard of the Valley of Lost Souls. 
This woman who sleeps is a Spanish lady. She is of the pure 
Spanish blood. She is Castilian. I am as certain, as that I 
stand here, that her eyes are blue. And yet that pallor!" 
Again he shuddered. " It is an unearthly sleep. It is as if 
she tampered with drugs, and had long tampered with 
drugs " 

' The very thing !" Francis broke in with excited whispers. 
" The Lady Who Dreams drug dreams. They must keep 
her here doped up as a sort of super-priestess or super-oracle. 
That's all right, old priest," he broke off to say in Spanish. 
" If we wake her up, what of it? We have been brought 
here to meet her, and, I hope, awake." 

The Lady stirred, as if the whispering had penetrated her 
profound of sleep, and, for the first time, the dog moved. 



HEARTS OF THREE 181 

turning his head toward her so that her down-dropping 
hand rested on his neck caressingly. The priest was impera- 
tive, now, in his scowls and gestured commands for silence. 
And in absolute silence they stood and watched the awaken- 
ing of the oracle. 

Slowly she drew herself half upright, paused, and re- 
caressed the happy wolf hound, whose cruel fangs were 
exposed in a formidable, long- jawed laugh of joy. Awesome 
the situation was to them, yet more awesome it became to 
them when she turned her eyes full upon them for the first 
time. Never had they seen such eyes, in which smouldered 
the world and all the worlds. Half way did Leoncia cross 
herself, while Torres, swept away by his own awe, com- 
pleted his own crossing of himself and with moving lips 
of silence enunciated his favorite prayer to the Virgin. Even 
Francis and Henry looked, and could not take their gaze 
away from the twin wells of blue that seemed almost dark 
in the shade of the long black eyelashes. 

" A blue-eyed brunette," Francis managed to whisper. 

But such eyes ! Bound they were, rather than long. 
And yet thy were not round. Square they might have 
been, had they not been more round than square. Such 
shape had they that they were as if blocked off in the 
artist's swift and sketchy way of establishing circles out 
of the sums of angles. The long, dark lashes veiled them 
and perpetuated the illusion of their darkness. Yet was 
there no surprise nor startlement in them at first sight 
of her visitors. Dreamily incurious were they, yet were 
they languidly certain of comprehension of what they 
beheld. Still further, to awe those who so beheld, her 
eyes betrayed a complicated totality of paradoxical alive- 
nesses. Pain trembled its quivering anguish perpetually 
impending. Sensitiveness moistily hinted of itself like a 
spring rain-shower on the distant sea-horizon or a dew-fall 
of a mountain morning. Pain ever pain resided in the 
midst of languorous slumberousness. The fire of immeasur- 
able courage threatened to glint into the electric spark of 
action and fortitude. Deep slumber, like a palpitant, tapes- 
tried background, seemed ever ready to obliterate all in 
sleep. And over all, through all, permeating all, brooded 
ageless wisdom'. This was accentuated by cheeks slightly 
hollowed, hinting of asceticism. Upon them was a flush, 
either hectic or of the paint-box. 

When she stood up, she showed herself to be slender 



182 fiEARTS OF THREE 

and fragile as a fairy. Tiny were her bones, not too -gener- 
ously flesh-covered; yet the lines of her were not thin. 
Had either Henry or Francis registered his impression 
aloud, he would have proclaimed her the roundest thin 
woman he had ever seen. 

The Sun Priest prostrated his aged frame till he lay 
stretched flat out on the floor, his old forehead burrowing 
into the grass mat. The rest remained upright, although 
Torres evidenced by a crumpling at the knees that he would 
have followed the priest's action had his companions shown 
signs of accompanying him. As it was, his knees did partly 
crumple, but straightened again and stiffened under the 
controlled example of Leoncia and the Morgans. 

At first the Lady had no eyes for aught but Leoncia; 
and, after a careful looking over of her, with a curt upward 
lift of head she commanded her to approach. Too impera- 
tive by far was it, in Leoncia's thought, to proceed from 
so etherially beautiful a creature, and she sensed with im- 
mediacy an antagonism that must exist between them. 
So she did not move, until the Sun Priest muttered harshly 
that she must obey. She approached, regardless of the 
huge, long-haired hound, threading between the tripods and 
past the beast, nor would stop until commanded by a second 
nod as curt as the first. For a long minute the two women 
gazed steadily into each other's eyes, at the end of which, 
with a flicker of triumph, Leoncia observed the other's eyes 
droop. But the flicker was temporary, for Leoncia saw that 
the Lady was studying her dress with haughty curiosity. 
She even reached out her slender, pallid hand and felt 
the texture of the cloth and caressed it as only a woman 
can. 

"Priest!" she summoned sharply. "This is the third 
day of the Sun in the House of Manco. Long ago I told 
you something concerning this day. Speak." 

Writhing in excess of servility, the Sun Priest quavered : 

" That on this day strange events were to occur. They 
have occurred, Queen." 

Already had the Queen forgotten. Still caressing the 
cloth of Leoncia's dress, her eyes were bent upon it in 
curious examination. 

" You are very fortunate," the Queen said, at the same 
time motioning her back to rejoin the others. ' You are 
well loved of men. All is not clear, yet does it seem that 
vou are too well loved of men." 



HEARTS OF THREE 183 

Her voice, mellow and low, tranquil as silver, modulated 
in exquisite rhythms of sound, was almost as a distant 
temple bell calling believers to worship or sad souls to quiet 
judgment. But to Leoncia it was not given to appreciate 
the wonderful voice. Instead, only was she aware oi anger 
flaming up to her cheeks and burning in her pulse. 

" I have seen you before, and often," the Queen went 
on. 

" Never!" Leoncia cried out. 
' ' Hush ! ' ' the Sun Priest hissed at her. 
" There," the Queen said, pointing at the great golden 
bowl. " Before, and often, have I seen you there. 

" You also, there," she addressed Henry. 

" And you," she confirmed to Francis, although her 

great blue eyes opened wider and she gazed at him long 

too long to suit Leoncia, who knew the stab of jealousy 
that only a woman can thrust into a woman's heart. 

The Queen's eyes glinted when they had moved on to 
rest on Torres. 

" And who are you, stranger, so strangely appareled, the 
helmet of a knight upon your head, upon your feet the 
sandals of a slave?" 

" I am Da Vasco," he answered stoutly. 
' The name has an ancient ring," she smiled. 
" I am the ancient Da Vasco," he pursued, advancing 
unsummoiied. She smiled at his temerity but did not stay 
him. " This is the helmet I wore four hundred years ago 
when I led the ancestors of the Lost Souls into this valley." 
The Queen smiled quiet unbelief, as she quietly asked : 
" Then you were born four hundred years ago?" 
' Yes, and never. I was never born. I am Da Vasco. 
I have always been. My home is in the sun." 

Her delicately stenciled brows drew quizzically to interro- 
gation, though she said nothing. From a gold-wrought 
box beside her on the divan she pinched what seemed a 
powder between a fragile and almost transparent thumb 
and forefinger, and her thin beautiful lips curved to gentle 
mockery as she casually tossed the powder into the great 
tripod. A sheen of smoke arose and hi a moment was 
lost to sight. 

" Look!" she commanded. 

And Torres, approaching the great bowl, gazed into it. 
What he saw, the rest of his party never learned. But 
the Queen herself leaned forward and gazing down from 



184 HEARTS OF THREE 

above, saw with him, her face a beautiful advertisement 
of gentle and pitying mockery. And what Torres himself 
saw was a bedroom and a birth in the second story of the 
Bocas del Tore house he had inherited. Pitiful it was, 
with its last secrecy exposed, as was the gently smiling pity 
in the Queen's face. And, in that flashing glimpse of magic 
vision, Torres saw confirmed about himself what he had 
always guessed and suspected. 

' Would you see more," the Queen softly mocked. " I 
have shown you the beginning of you. Look now, and 
behold your ending." 

But Torres, too deeply impressed by what he had already 
seen, shuddered away in recoil. 

" Forgive me, Beautiful Woman," he pleaded. " And 
let me pass. Forget, as I shall hope ever to forget." 

" It is gone," she said, with a careless wave of her hand 
over the bowl. " But I cannot forget. The record will per- 
sist always in my mind. But you, O Man, so young of life, 
so ancient of helmet, have I beheld before this day, there in 
my Mirror of the World. You have vexed me much of late 
with your portending. Yet not with the helmet." She 
smiled with quiet wisdom. " Always, it seems to me, I saw 
a chamber of the dead, of the long dead, upright on their 
unmoving legs and guarding through eternity mysteries alien 
to their faith and race. And in that dolorous company did 
it seern. that I saw one who wore your ancient helmet. . . . 
Shall I speak further?" 

" No, no," Torres implored. 

She bowed and nodded him back. Next,* her scrutiny 
centred on Francis, whom she nodded forward. She stood 
up upon the dais as if to greet him, and, as if troubled by 
the fact that she must gaze down on him, stepped from the 
dais to the floor so that she might gaze up into his face as 
she extended her hand. Hesitatingly he took her hand in 
his, then knew not what next to do. Almost did it appear 
that she read his thought, for she said : 

" Do it. I have never had it done to me before. I have 
never seen it done, save in my dreams and in the visions 
shown me in my Mirror of the World." 

And Francis bent and kissed her hand. And, because she 
did not signify to withdraw it, he continued to hold it, while, 
against his palm, he felt the faint but steady pulse of her 
pink finger-tips. And so they stood in pose, neither speak- 
ing, Francis embarrassed, the Queen sighing faintly, while 



HEARTS 01' THREE 185 

the sex anger of woman tore at Leoncia's heart, until Henry 
blurted out in gleeful English : 

" Do it again, Francis ! She likes it !" 

The Sun Priest hissed silencing command at him. But 
the Queen, half withdrawing her hand with a startle like a 
maiden's, relumed it as deeply as before into Francis' clasp, 
and addressed herself to Henry. 

' I, too, know the language you speak," she admonished. 
" Yet am I unashamed, I, who have never known a man, 
do admit that I like it. It is the first kiss that I have ever 

had. Francis for such your friend calls you obey 

your friend. I like it. I do like it. Once again kiss my 
hand." 

Francis obeyed, waited while her hand still lingered in 
his, and while she, oblivious to all else, as if toying with 
some beautiful thought, gazed lingeringly up into his eyes. 
By a visible effort she pulled herself together, released his 
hand abruptly, gestured him back to the others, and ad- 
dressed the Sun Priest. 

Well, priest," she said, with a return of the sharpness 
in her voice, " You have brought these captives here for a 
reason which I already know. Yet would I hear you state 
it yourself." 

" Lady Who Dreams, shall we not kill these intruders 
as has ever been our custom? The people are mystified and 
in doubt of my judgment, and demand decision from you." 

' ! And you would kill ? ' ' 

" Such is my judgment. 1 seek now your judgment that 
y ours and mine may be one." 

She glanced over the faces of the four captives. For 
Torres, her brooding expression portrayed only pity. To 
Leoncia she extended a frown; to Henry, doubt. And upon 
Francis she gazed a full minute, her face growing tender, 
at least to Leoncia's angry observation. 

Are any of you unmarried?" the Queen asked suddenly. 
" Nay," she anticipated them. " It is given me to know 
that you are all unmarried." She turned quickly to Leoncia. 
" Is it well," she demanded, " that a woman should have 
tv.*o husbands?" 

Both Henry and Francis could not refrain from smiling 
their amusement at so absurdly irrelevant a question. But 
to Leoncia it was neither absurd nor irrelevant, and in her 
cheeks arose the flush of anger again. This was a woman, 



186 HEARTS OF THREE 

she knew, with whom she had to deal, and who was dealing 
with her like a woman. 

" It is not well," Leoncia answered, with clear, ringing 
voice. 

" It is very strange," the Queen pondered aloud. " It is 
very strange. Yet is it not fair. Since there are equal num- 
bers of men and women in the world, it cannot be fair for 
one woman to have two husbands, for, if so, it means that 
another woman shall have no husband." 

Another pinch of dust she tossed into the great bowl of 
gold. The sheen of smoke arose and vanished as before. 

' The Mirror of the World will tell me, priest, what dis- 
position shall be made of our captives." 

Just ere she leaned over to gaze into the bowl, a fresh 
thought deflected her. With an embracing wave of arm she 
invited them all up to the bowl. 

' We may all look," she said. " I do not promise you we 
will see the same visions of our dreams. Nor shall I know 
what you will have seen. Each for himself will see and 
know. You, too, priest." 

They found the bowl, six feet in diameter that it was, half- 
full of some unknown metal liquid. 

It might be quicksilver, but it isn't," Henry whispered 
to Francis. " I have never seen the like of any similar metal. 
It strikes me as hotly molten." 

It is very cold," the Queen corrected him in English. 

Yet is it fire. You, Francis, feel the bowl outside." 

He obeyed, laying his full palm unhesitatingly to the 
yellow outer surface. 

''' Colder than the atmosphere of the room," he adjudged. 
But look!" the Queen, cried, tossing more powder upon 
the contents. " It is fire that remains cold." 

" It is the powder that smokes with the heat of its own 
containment," Torres blurted out, at the same time feeling 
into the bottom of his coat pocket. He drew forth a pinch 
of crumbs of tobacco, match splinters, and cloth-fluff. 
' This will not burn," he challenged, inviting invitation by 
extending the pinch of rubbish over the bowl as if to drop 
it in. 

The Queen nodded consent, and all saw the rubbish fall 
upon the liquid metal surface. The particles made no inden- 
tation on that surface. Only did they transform into smoke 
that sheened upward and was gone. No remnant of ash 
remained. 



HEARTS OF THREE 187 

" Still is it cold," said Torres, imitating Francis and feel- 
ing the outside of the bowl. 

" Thrust your finger into the contents," the Queen sug- 
gested to Torres. 

" No," he said. 

" You are right," she confirmed. " Had you done so, 
you would now be with one finger less than the number with 
which you w r ere born." She tossed in more powder. " Now 
shall each behold what he alone will behold." 

And it was so. 

To Leoncia was it given to see an ocean separate her and 
Francis. To Henry was it given to see the Queen and Francis 
married by so strange a ceremony, that scarcely did he 
realise, until at the close, that it was a wedding taking place. 
The Queen, from a flying gallery in a great house, looked 
down into a magnificent drawing-room that Francis would 
have recognized as builded by his father had her vision been 
his. And, beside her, his arm about her, she saw Francis. 
Francis saw but one thing, vastly perturbing, the face of 
Leoncia, immobile as death, with thrust into it, squarely 
between the eyes, a slended-bladed dagger. Yet he did not 
see any blood flowing from the wound of the dagger. Torres 
glimpsed the beginning of what he knew must be his end, 
crossed himself, and alone of all of them shrank back, refus- 
ing to see further. While the Sun Priest saw the vision of 
his secret sin, the face and form of the woman for whom 
he had betrayed the Worship of the Sun, and th face and 
form of the maid of the village at the Long House. 

As all drew back by common consent when the visions 
faded, Leoncia turned like a tigress, with flashing eyes, upon 
the Queen, crying: 

' Your mirror lies ! Your Mirror of the World lies ! ' ' 

Francis and Henry, still under the heavy spell of what 
they had themselves beheld, were startled and surprised by 
Leoncia's outburst. But the Queen, speaking softly, replied : 
My Mirror of the World has never lied. I know not 
what you saw. But I do know, whatever it was, that it is 
truth." 

' You are a monster!" Leoncia cried on. " You are a 
vile witch that lies ! ' ' 

You and I are women," the Queen chided with sweet 
gentleness, " and may not know of ourselves, being women. 
Men will decide whether or not I am a witch that lies or a 
woman with a woman's heart of love. In the meanwhile, 



188 HEARTS OF THREE 

being women and therefore weak, let us be kind to each 
other." 

" And now, Priest of the Sun, to judgment. You, as 

priest under the Sun God, know more of the ancient rule and 
procedure than do I. You know more than do I about my- 
'self and how I came to be here. You know that always, 
mother and daughter, and by mother and daughter, has the 
tribe maintained a Queen of Mystery, a Lady of Dreams. 
The time has come when we must consider the future gene- 
rations. The strangers have come, and they are unmarried. 
This must be the wedding day decreed, if the generations to 
come after of the tribe are to possess a Queen to dream for 
them. It is well, and time and need and place are met. I 
have dreamed to judgment. And the judgment is that I 
shall marry, of these strangers, the stranger alloted to me 
before the foundations of the world were laid. The test is 
this : If no one of these will marry, then shall they die and 
their warm blood be offered up by you before the altar of the 
Sun. If one will marry me, then all shall live, and Time 
hereafter will register our futures." 

The Sun Priest, trembling with anger, strove to protest, 
but she commanded : 

" Silence, priest! By me. only do you rule the people. 
At a word from me to the people well, you know. It is 
not any easy way to die." 

She turned to the three men, saying : 

" And who will marry me?" 

They looked embarrassment and consternation at one 
another, but none spoke. 

" I am a woman," the Queen went on teasingly. " And 
therefore am I not desirable to men? Is it that I am not 
young? Is it, as women go, that I am not beautiful? Is it 
that men's tastes are so strange that no man cares to clasp 
the sweet of me in his arms and press his lips on mine as 
good Francis there did on my hand?" 

She turned her eyes on Leoncia. 

You be judge. You are a woman well loved of men. 

Am I not such a woman as you, and shall I not be loved?" 

You will ever be kinder to men than to women, ' ' Leoncia 

answered cryptically as regarded the three men who 

heard, but clearly to the woman's brain of the Queen. " And 
as a woman," Leoncia continued, " you are strangely beauti- 
ful and luring ; and there are men in this world, many men, 
who could be made mad to clasp you in their arms. But I 



HEARTS OF THREE 189 

warn you, Queen, that in this world are men, and men, and 
men." 

Having heard and debated this, the Queen turned abruptly 
to the priest. 

" You have heard, priest. This day a man shall marry 
me. If no man marries me, these three men shall be offered 
up on your altar. So shall be offered up this woman, who, 
it would seem, would put shame upon me by having me less 
than she." 

Still, she addressed the priest, although her message was 
for the others. 

" There are three men of them, one of whom, long cycles 
before he was born, was destined to marry me. So, priest, I 
say, take the captives away into some other apartment, and 
let them decide among themselves which is the man." 

" Since it has been so long destined," Leoncia flamed 
forth, " then why put it to the chance of their decision? You 
know the man. Why put it to the risk? Name the man, 
Queen, and name him now." 

M The man shall be selected in the way I have indicated," 
the Queen replied, as, at the same time, absently she tossed 
a pinch of powder into the great bowl and absently glanced 
therein. " So now depart, and let the inevitable choice be 
made." 

They were already moving away out of the room, when a 
cry from the Queen stopped them. 

' Wait!" she ordered. " Come, Francis. I have seen 
something that concerns you. Come, gaze with me upon the 
Mirror of the World." 

And while the others paused, Francis gazed with her upon 
the strange liquid metal surface. He saw himself in the 
library of his New York house, and he saw beside him the 
Lady Who Dreams, his arm around her. Next, he saw her 
curiosity at sight of the stock-ticker. As he tried to explain 
it to her, he glanced at the tape and read such disturbing 
information thereon that he sprang to the nearest telephone 
and, as the vision faded, saw himself calling up his broker. 

' What was it you saw?" Leoncia questioned, as they 
passed out. 

And Francis lied. He did not mention seeing the Lady 
Who Dreams in his New York library. Instead, he replied : 

" It was a stock-ticker, and it showed a bear market on 
Wall Street somersaulting into a panic. Now how did she 
know I was interested in Wall Street and stock-tickers?" 



CHAPTEE XIX 

"SOMEBODY'S got to marry that crazy woman," Leoncia spoke 
up, as they lolled upon the mats of the room to which the 
priest had taken them. " Not only will he be a hero by 
saving our lives, but he will save his own life as well. Now, 
Senor Torres, is your chance to save all our lives and your 
own. ' ' 

" Br-r-r!" Torres shivered. " I would not marry her 
for ten million gold. She is too wise. She is terrible. She 
how shall I say? she, as you Americans say, gets my goat. 
I am a brave man. But before her I am not brave. The 
flesh of me melts in a sweat of fear. Not for less than ten 
million would I dare to overcome my fear. Now Henry and 
Francis are braver than I. Let one of them marry her." 

But I am engaged to marry Leoncia," Henry spoke up 
promptly. " Therefore, I cannot marry the Queen." 

And their eyes centered on Francis, but, before he could 
reply, Leoncia broke in. 

" It is not fair, " she said. " No one of you wants to marry 
her. The only equitable way to settle it will be by drawing 
lots." As she spoke, she pulled three straws from the mat 
on which she sat and broke one off very short. " The man 
who draws the short straw shall be the victim. You; Senor 
Torres, draw first." 

' Wedding bells for the short straw," Henry grinned. 

Torres crossed himself, shivered, and drew. So patently 
long was the straw, that he executed a series of dancing steps 
as he sang : 

" No wedding bells for me, 

I'm as happy as can be . . ." 

Francis drew next, and an equally long straw was his 
portion. To Henry there, was no choice. The remaining 
straw in Leoncia's hand was the fatal one. All tragedy was 

X90 



HEARTS OF THREE 191 

in his face as he looked instantly at Leoncia. And she, 
observing, melted in pity, while Francis saw her pity and 
did some rapid thinking. It was the way out. All the per- 
plexity of the situation could be thus easily solved. Great 
as was his love for Leoncia, greater was his man's loyalty to 
Henry. Francis did not hesitate. With a merry slap of his 
hand on Henry's shoulder, he cried : 

" Well, here's the one unattached bachelor who isn't 
afraid of matrimony. I'll marry her." 

Henry's relief was as if he had been reprieved from im- 
pending death. His hand shot out to Francis' hand, and, 
while they clasped, their eyes gazed squarely into each 
other's as only decent, honest men's may gaze. Nor did 
either see the dismay registered in Leoncia 's face at this 
unexpected denouement. The Lady Who Dreams had been 
right. Leoncia, as a woman, was unfair, loving two men and 
denying the Lady her fair share of men. 

But any discussion that might have taken place, was pre- 
vented by the little maid of the village, who entered with 
women to serve them the midday meal. It was Torres' 
sharp eyes that first lighted upon the string of gems about 
the maid's neck. Rubies they were, and magnificent. 

" The Lady Who Dreams just gave them to me," the 
maid said, pleased with their pleasure in her new possession. 

" Has she any more?" Torres asked. 

" Of course," was the reply. " Only just now did she 
show me a great chest of them. And they were all kinds, 
and much larger; but they were not strung. They were like 
so much shelled corn." 

While the others ate and talked, Torres nervously smoked 
a cigarette. After that, he arose and claimed a passing in- 
disposition that prevented him from eating. 

" Listen," he quoth impressively. " I speak better 
Spanish than either of you two Morgans. Also, I know, I 
am confident, the Spanish woman character better. To show 
you my heart's in the right place, I'll go in to her now and 
see if I can talk her out of this matrimonial proposition." 



One of the spearmen barred Torres' way, but, after going 
within, returned and motioned him to enter. The Queen, 
reclined on the divan, nodded him to her graciously. 

You do not eat?" she queried solicitously; and added, 



192 HEARTS OF THREE 

after lie had reaffirmed his loss of appetite, " Then will you 
drink?" 

Torres' eyes sparkled. Between the excitement he had 
gone through for the past several days, and the new adven- 
ture he was resolved upon, he knew not how, to achieve, he 
felt the important need of a drink. The Queen clapped her 
hands, and issued commands to the waiting woman who 
responded. 

" It is very ancient, centuries old, as you will recognize, 
Da Vasco, who brought it here yourself four centuries ago," 
she said, as a man carried in and broached a small wooden 



About the age of the keg there could be no doubt, and 
Torres, knowing that it had crossed the Western Ocean 
twelve generations before, felt his throat tickle with desire to 
taste its contents. The drink poured by the waiting woman 
was a big one, yet was Torres startled by the mildness of it. 
But quickly the magic of four-centuries-old spirits began to 
course through his veins and set the maggots crawling in his 
brain. 

The Queen bade him sit on the edge of the divan at her 
feet, where she could observe him, and asked: 

' You came unsummoned. What is it you have to tell 
me or ask of me?" 

" I am the one selected," he replied, twisting his mous- 
tache and striving to look the enticingness of a male man on 
love adventure bent. 

" Strange," she said. " I saw not your face in the Mirror 
of the World. There is ... some mistake, eh?" 

" A mistake," he acknowledged readily, reading certain 
knowledge in her eyes. ' It was the drink. There is magic 
in it that made me speak the message of my heart to you, I 
want you so." 

Again, with laughing eyes, she summoned the waiting 
woman and had his pottery mug replenished. 

" A second mistake, perhaps will now result, eh?" she 
teased, when he had downed the drink. 

' No, O Queen," he replied. " Now all is clarity. My 
true heart I can master. Francis Morgan, the one who kissed 
your hand, is the man selected to be your husband." 

" It is true," she said solemnly. " His was the face I 
saw, and knew from the first." 

Thus encouraged, Torres continued. 

" I am his friend, his very good best friend. You, who 



HEARTS OF THREE 193 

know all things, know the custom of the marriage dowry. 
He has sent me, his best friend, to inquire into and examine 
the dowry of his bride. You must know that he is among the 
richest of men in his own country, where men are very 
rich." 

So suddenly did she arise on the divan that Torres cringed 
and half shrank down, in his panic expectance of a knife- 
blade between his shoulders. Instead, the Queen walked 
swiftly, or, rather, glided, to the doorway to an inner apart- 
ment. 

11 Come!" she summoned imperiously. 
Once inside, at the first glance around, Torres knew the 
room for what it was, her sleeping chamber. But his eyes 
had little space for such details. Lifting the lid of a heavy 
chest of ironwood, brass-bound, she motioned him to look in. 
He obeyed, and saw the amazement of the world. The little 
maid had spoken true. Like so much shelled corn, the chest 

was filled with an incalculable treasure of gems diamonds, 

rubies, emeralds, sapphires, the most precious, the purest 
and largest of their kinds. 

" Thrust in your arms to the shoulders," she said, " and 
make sure that these baubles be real and of the adamant of 
flint, rather than illusions and reflections of unreality 
dreamed real in a dream. Thus may you make certain report 
to your very rich friend who is to marry me." 

And Torres, the madness of the ancient drink like fire in 
his brain, did as he was told. 

' These trifles of glass are such an astonishment?" she 
plagued. ' Your eyes are as if they were witnessing great 
wonders." 

i never dreamed in all the world there was such a 
treasure," he muttered in his drunkenness. 
' They are beyond price?" 

They are beyond price." 

They are beyond the value of valor, and love, and 
honor?" 

They are beyond all things. They are a madness." 

Can a woman's or a man's true love be purchased by 
them?' 

' They can purchase all the world." 

Come," the Queen said. " You are a man. You have 
held women in your arms. Will they purchase women?" 

Since the beginning of time women have been bought 



194 HEARTS OF THREE 

and sold for them, and for them women have sold them- 
selves/' 

' Will they buy me the heart of your good friend Francis?" 
For the first time Torres looked at her, and nodded and 
muttered, his eyes swimming with drink and wild-eyed with 
sight of such array of gems. 

' Will good Francis so value them?" 
Torres nodded speechlessly. 

Do all persons so value them?" 
Again he nodded emphatically. 

She began to laugh in silvery derision. Bending, at hap- 
hazard she clutched a priceless handful of the pretties. 

Come," she commanded. " I will show you how I value 
them." 

She led him across the room and out on a platform that 
extended around three sides of a space of water, the fourth 
side being the perpendicular cliff. At the base of the cliff 
the water formed a whirlpool that advertised the drainage 
exit for the lake which Torres had heard the Morgans specu- 
late about. 

With another silvery tease of laughter, the Queen tossed 
the handful of priceless gems into the heart of the whirlpool. 
' Thus I value them," she said. 

Torres was aghast, and, for the nonce, well-nigh sobered 
by such wantonness. 

And they never come back," she laughed on. " Nothing 
ever comes back. Look!" 

She flung in a handful of flowers that raced around and 
around the whirl and quickly sucked down from sight in the 
center of it. 

If nothing comes back, where does everything go?" 
Torres asked thickly. 

The Queen shrugged her shoulders, although he knew that 
she knew the secret of the waters. 

" More than one man has gone that way," she said 
dreamily. " No one of them has ever returned. My mother 
went that way, after she was dead. I was a girl then." She 
roused. " But you, helmeted one, go now. Make report to 

your master your friend, I mean. Tell him what I possess 

for dowry. And, if he be half as mad as you about the bits 
of glass, swiftly will his arms surround me. I shall remain 
here and in dreams await his coming. The play of the water 
fascinates me." 

Dismissed, Torres entered the sleeping chamber, crept 



HEARTS OF THREE 195 

ba<jk to steal a glimpse of the Queen, and saw her sunk down 
on the platform, head on hand, and gazing into the whirl- 
pool. Swiftly he made his way to the chest, lifted the lid, 
and stowed a scooping handful into his trousers' pocket. Ere 
he could scoop a second handful, the mocking laughter of the 
Queen was at his back. 

Fear and rage mastered him to such extent, that he sprang 
toward her, and pursuing her out upon the platform, was only 
prevented from seizing her by the dagger she threatened him 
with. 

' Thief," she said quietly. ' Without honor are you. 
And the way of all thieves in this valley is death. I shall 
summon my spearmen and have you thrown into the whirling 
water." 

And his extremity gave Torres cunning. Glancing appre- 
hensively at the water that threatened him, he ejaculated a 
cry of horror as if at what strange thing he had seen, sank 
down on one knee, and buried his convulsed face of simulated 
fear hi his hands. The Queen looked sidewise to see wfiat 
he had seen. Which was his moment. He rose in the air 
upon her like a leaping tiger, clutching her wrists and wrest- 
ing the dagger from her. 

He wiped the sweat from his face and trembled while he 
slowly recovered himself. Meanwhile she gazed upon him 
curiously, without fear. 

' You are a woman of evil," he snarled at her, still shaking 
with rage, " a witch that traffics with the powers of darkness 
and all devilish things. Yet are you woman, born of woman, 
and therefore mortal. The weakness of mortality and of 
woman is yours, wherefore I give you now your choice of two 
things. Either you shall be thrown into the whirl of water 
and perish, or . . ." 
" Or?" she prompted. 

"Or . . ." He paused, licked his dry lips, and burst 
forth. "No! By the Mother of God, I am not afraid. Or 
marry me this day, which is the other choice." 

You would marry me for me? Or for the treasure?" 
For the treasure," he admitted brazenly. 
' But it is written in the Book of Life that I shall marry 
Francis," she objected. 

Then will we rewrite that page in the Book of Life." 
' As if it could be done !" she laughed. 
' Then will I prove your mortality there in the whirl, 
whither I shall fling you as you flung the flowers." 



196 HEARTS OF THREE 

Truly intrepid Torres was for the time intrepid because 
of the ancient drink that burned in his blood and brain, and 
because he was master of the situation. Also, like a true 
Latin- American, he loved a scene wherein he could strut and 
elocute. 

Yet she startled him by emitting a hiss similar to the Latin 
way of calling a servitor. He regarded her suspiciously, 
glanced at the doorway to the sleeping chamber, then 
returned his gaze to her. 

Like a ghost, seeing it only vaguely out of the corner of 
his eye, the great white hound erupted through the doorway. 
Startled again, Torres involuntarily stepped to the side. But 
his foot failed to come to rest on the emptiness of air it 
encountered, and the weight of his body toppled him down off 
the platform into the water. Even as he fell and screamed 
his despair, he saw the hound in mid-air leaping after him. 

Swimmer that he was, Torres was like a straw in the grip 
of the current; and the Lady Who Dreams, gazing down upon 
him fascinated from the edge of the platform, saw him dis- 
appear, and the hound after him, into the heart of the whirl- 
pool from which there was no return. 



CHAPTER XX 

LONG the Lady Who Dreams gazed down at the playing 
waters. At last, with a sighed " My poor dog," she arose. 
The passing of Torres had meant nothing to her. Accus- 
tomed from girlhood to exercise the high powers of life and 
death over her semi-savage and degenerate people, human 
life, per se, had no sacredness to her. If life were good and 
lovely, then, naturally, it was the right thing to let it live. 
But if life were evil, ugly, and dangerous to other lives, then 
the thing was to let it die or make it die. Thus, to her, 

Torres had been an episode unpleasant, but quickly over. 

But it was too bad about the dog. 

Clapping her hands loudly as she entered her chamber, to 
summon one of her women, she made sure that the lid of the 
jewel chest was raised. To the woman she gave a command, 
and herself returned to the platform, from where she could 
look into the room unobserved. 

A few minutes later, guided by the woman, Francis en- 
tered the chamber and was left alone. He was not in a 
happy mood. Fine as had been his giving up of Leoncia, he 
got no pleasure from the deed. Nor was there any pleasure 
in looking forward to marrying the strange lady who ruled 
over the Lost Souls and resided in this weird lake -dwelling. 
Unlike Torres, however, she did not arouse in him fear or 
animosity. Quite to the contrary, Francis' feeling toward 
her was largely that of pity. He could not help but be im- 
pressed by the tragic pathos of the ripe and lovely woman 
desperately seeking love and a mate, despite her imperious 
and cavalier methods. 

At a glance he recognized the room for what it was, and 
idly wondered if he were already considered the bridegroom, 
sans discussion, sans acquiescence, sans ceremony. In his 
brown study, the chest scarcely caught his attention. The 
Queen, watching, saw him evidently waiting for her, and, 
after a few minutes, walk over to the chest. He gathered 

197 

o 



198 HEARTS OF THREE 

up a handful of the gems, dropped them one by one care- 
lessly back as if they had been so many marbles, and turned 
and strolled over to examine the leopard skins on her couch. 
Next, he sat down upon it, oblivious equally of couch or 
treasure. All of which was provocative of such delight to the 
Queen that she could no longer withstrain herself to mere 
spying. Entering the room and greeting him, she laughed : 
' Was Senor Torres a liar?" 

" Was?" Francis queried, for the need of saying some- 
thing, as he arose before her. 

" He no longer is," she assured him. ' Which is neither 
here nor there," she hastened on as Francis began to betray 
interest in the matter of Torres' end. " He is gone, and it is 
well that he is gone, for he can never come back. But he 
did lie, didn't he?" 

" Undoubtedly," Francis replied. " He is a confounded 
liar." 

He could not help noticing the way her face fell when he 
so heartily agreed with her concerning Torres' veracity. 
' What did he say?" Francis questioned. 

" That he was the one selected to marry me." 

" A liar," Francis commented dryly. 

' ' Next he said that you were the selected one which was 
also a lie," her voice trailed off. 

Francis shook his head. 

The involuntary cry of joy the Queen uttered touched his 
heart to such tenderness of pity that almost did he put his 
arms around her to soothe her. She waited for him to speak. 

" I am the one to marry you," he went on steadily. " You 
are very, beautiful. When shall we be married?" 

The wild joy in her face was such that he swore to himself 
that never would he willingly mar that face with marks of 
sorrow. She might be ruler over the Lost Souls, with the 
wealth of Ind and with supernatural powers of mirror- 
gazing ; but most poignantly she appealed to him as a lonely 
and na'ive woman, overspilling of love and totally unversed 
in love, 

" And I shall tell you of another lie this Torres animal 
told to me," she burst forth exultantly. " He told me that 
you were rich, and that, before you married me, you desired 
to know what wealth was mine. He told me you had sent 
him to inquire into what riches I possessed. This I know 
was a lie. You are not marrying me for that!" with a 
scornful gesture at the jewel chest. 



HEARTS OF THREE 199 

Francis shook his head. 

' You are marrying me for myself," she rushed on in 
triumph. 

" For yourself," Francis could not help but lie. 

And then he beheld an amazing thing. The Queen, this 
Queen who was the sheerest autocrat, who said come here 
and go there, who dismissed the death of Torres with its 
mere announcement, and who selected her royal spouse 
without so much as consulting his prenuptial wishes, this 
Queen began to blush. Up her neck, flooding her face to her 
ears and forehead, welled the pink tide of maidenly modesty 
and embarrassment. And such sight of faltering made 
Francis likewise falter. He knew not \vhat to do, and felt 
a warmth of blood rising under the sun-tan of his own face. 
Never, he thought, had there been a inan-and-woman situa- 
tion like it in all the history of men and women. The mutual 
embarrassment of the pair of them was appalling, and to save 
his life he could not have summoned a jot of initiative. 
Thus, the Queen was compelled to speak first. 

" And now," she said, blushing still more furiously, " you 
must make love to me." 

Francis strove to speak, but his lips were so dry that he 

licked them and succeeded only in stammering incoherently. 

I never have been loved," the Queen continued bravely. 

The affairs of my people are not love. My people are 
animals without reason. But we, you and I, are man and 

woman. There must be wooing, and tenderness that 

much I have learned from my Mirror of the World. But I 
am unskilled. I know not how. But you, from out of the 
great world, must surely know. I wait. You must love me. " 

She sank down upon the couch, drawing Francis beside 
her, and true to her word, proceeded to wait. While he, 
bidden to love at command, was paralyzed by the preposter- 
ous impossibility of so obeying. 

" Am I not beautiful?" the Queen queried after another 
pause. " Are not your arms as mad to be about me as I am 
mad to have them about me? Never have a man's lips 

touched my lips. What is a kiss like on the lips, I mean? 

Your lips on my hand were ecstasy. You kissed then, not 
alone my hand, but my soul. My heart was there, throbbing 
against the press of your lips. Did you not feel it?" 



" And so," she was saying, half an hour later, as they sat 



200 HEARTS OF THREE 

on the couch hand in hand, " I have told you the little I 
know of myself. I do not know the past, except what I have 
been told of it. The present I see clearly in my Mirror of 
the World. The future I can likewise see, but vaguely; nor 
can I always understand what I see. I was born here. So 
was my mother, and her mother. How it chanced is that 
always into the life of each queen came a lover. Sometimes, 
as you, they came here. My mother's mother, so it was 
told me, left the valley to find her lover and was gone a long 

time for years. So did my mother go forth. The secret 

way is known to me, where the long dead conquistadores 
guard the Maya mysteries, and where Da Vasco himself 
stands whose helmet this Torres animal had the impudence 
to steal and claim for his own. Had you not come, I should 
have been compelled to go forth and find you, for you were 
my appointed one and had to be." ','' 

A woman entered, followed by a spearman, and Francis 
could scarce make his way through the quaint antiquated 
Spanish of the conversation that ensued. In commingled 
anger and joy, the Queen epitomized it to him. 

4 We are to depart now to the Long House for our wed- 
ding. The Priest of the Sun is stubborn, I know not why, 
save that he has been balked of the blood of all of you on his 
altar. He is very bloodthirsty. He is the Sun Priest, but 
he is possessed of little reason. I have report that he is 

striving to turn the people against our wedding the 

dog!" She clinched her hands, her face set, and her eyes 
blazed with royal fury. " He shall marry us, by the ancient 
custom, before the Long House, at the Altar of the Sun." 



' It's not too late, Francis, to change your mind," Henry 
urged. " Besides, it is not fair. The short straw was mine. 
Am I not right, Leoncia?" 

Leoncia could not reply. They stood in a group, at the 
forefront of the assembled Lost Souls, before the altar. In- 
side the Long House the Queen and the Sun Priest were 
closeted. 

" You wouldn't want to see Henry marry her, would you, 
Leoncia?" Francis argued. 

" Nor you, either," Leoncia countered. " Torres is the 
only one I'd like to have seen marry her. I don't like her. 
I would not care to see any friend of mine her husband." 

" You're almost jealous," commented Henry. " Just 



HEARTS OF THREE 201 

the same, Francis doesn't seem so very cast down over his 
fate." 

"' She's not at all bad," Francis retorted. " And I can 
accept my fate with dignity, if not with equanimity. And 
I'll tell you something else, Henry, now that you are harping 
on this strain: she wouldn't marry you if you asked her." 
" Oh, I don't know," Henry began. 
" Then ask her," was the challenge. " Here she comes 
now. Look at her eyes. There's trouble brewing. And the 
priest's black as thunder. You just propose, to her and see 
what chance you've got while I'm around." 
Henry nodded his head stubbornly. 

" I will but not to show you what kind of a woman- 
conqueror I am, but for the sake of fair play. I wasn't play- 
ing the game when I accepted your sacrifice of yourself, 
but 1 am going to play the game now." 

Before they could prevent him, he had thrust his way to 
the Queen, shouldered in between her and the priest, and 
began to speak earnestly. And the Queen laughed as she 
listened. But her laughter was not for Henry. With shining 
triumph she laughed across at Leoncia. 

Not many moments were required to say no to Henry's 
persuasions, whereupon the Queen joined Leoncia and 
Francis, the priest tagging at her heels, and Henry, following 
more slowly, trying to conceal the gladness that was his at 
being rejected. 

" What do you think," the Queen addressed Leoncia 
directly. " Good Henry has just asked me to marry him, 
which makes the fourth this day. Am I not well loved? 
Have you ever had four lovers, all desiring to marry you on 
your wedding day?" 

Four!" Francis exclaimed. 
The Queen looked at him tenderly. 

Yourself, and Henry whom I have just declined. And, 
before either of you, this day, the insolent Torres; and, just 
now, in the Long House, the priest here." Wrath began 
to fire her eyes and cheeks at the recollection. " This Priest 
of the Sun, this priest long since renegade to his vows, this 
man who is only half a man, wanted me to marry him ! The 
dog ! The beast ! And he had the insolence to say, at the 
end, that I should not marry Francis. Come. I will show 
him." 

She nodded her own private spearmen up about the group, 
and with her eyes directed two of them behind the priest 



202 HEARTS OF THREE 

to includs him. At sight of this, murmurs began to arise in 
the crowd. 

" Proceed, priest," the Queen commanded harshly. 
" Else will my men kill you now." 

He turned sharply about, as if to appeal to the people, 
but the speech that trembled to his lips died unuttered at 
sight of the spear-points at his breast. He bowed to the 
inevitable, and led the way close to the altar, placing the 
Queen and Francis facing him, while he stood above on the 
platform of the altar, looking at them and over them at the 
Lost Souls. 

" I am the Priest of the Sun," he began. " My vows are 
holy. As the vowed priest I am to marry this woman, the 
Lady Who Dreams, to this stranger and intruder, whose 
blood is already forfeit to our altar. My vows are holy. I 
cannot be false to them. I refuse to marry this woman to 
this man. In the name of the Sun God I refuse to perform 
this ceremony " 

" Then shall you die, priest, here and now," the Queen 
hissed at him, nodding the near spearmen to lift their spears 
against him, and nodding the other spearmen to face the 
murmuring and semi-mutinous Lost Souls. 

Followed a pregnant pause. For less than a minute, but 
for nearly a minute, no word was uttered, no thought was 
betrayed by a restless movement. All stood, like so many 
statues; and all gazed upon the priest against whose heart 
the poised spears rested. 

He, whose blood of heart and life was nearest at stake in 
the issue, was the first to act. He gave in. Calmly he 
turned his back to the threatening spears, knelt, and, in 
archaic Spanish, prayed an invocation of fruitfulness to the 
Sun. Eeturning to the Queen and Francis, with a gesture 
he made them fully bow and almost half kneel before him. 
As he touched their hands with his finger-tips he could not 
forbear the involuntary scowl that convulsed his features. 

As the couple arose, at his indication, he broke a small 
corn-cake in two, handing a half to each. 

' The Eucharist," Henry whispered to Leoncia, as the 
pair crumbled and ate their portions of cake. 

' The Koman Catholic worship Da Vasco must have 
brought in with him, twisted about until it is now the 
marriage ceremony," she whispered back comprehension, 
although, at sight of Francis thus being lost to her, she was 



HEARTS OF THREE 203 

holding herself tightly for control, her lips bloodless and 
stretched to thinness, her nails hurting into her palms. 

From the altar the priest took and presented to the Queen 
a tiny dagger and a tiny golden cup. She spoke to Francis, 
who rolled up his sleeve and presented to her his bared left 
forearm. About to scarify his flesh, she paused, considered 
till all could see her visibly think, and, instead of breaking 
his skin, she touched the dagger point carefully to her 
tongue. 

And then arose rage. At the taste of the blade she threw 
the weapon from her, half sprang at the priest, half gave 
command to her spearmen for the death of him, and shook 
and trembled in the violence of her effort for self-possession. 
Following with her eyes the flight of the dagger to assure 
herself that its poisoned point should not strike the flesh of 
another and wreak its evilness upon it, she drew from the 
breast-fold of her dress another tiny dagger. This, too, she 
tested with her tongue, ere she broke Francis' skin with the 
point of it and caught in the cup of gold the several red blood- 
drops that exuded from the incision. Francis repeated the 
same for her and on her, whereupon, under her flashing eyes, 
the priest took the cup and offered the commingled blood 
upon the altar. 

Came a pause. The Queen frowned. 

If blood is to be shed this day on the altar of the Sun 
God " she began threateningly. 

And the priest, as if recollecting what he was loath to do, 
turned to the people and made solemn pronouncement that 
the twain were man and wife. The Queen turned to Francis 
with glowing invitation to his arms. As he folded her to him 
and kissed her eager lips, Leoncia gasped and leaned closely 
to Henry for support. Nor did Francis fail to observe and 
understand her passing indisposition, although when the 
flush-faced Queen next sparkled triumph at her sister 
woman, Leoncia was to all appearance proudly indifferent. 






CHAPTEE XXI 

Two thoughts flickered in Torres' mind as he was sucked 
<Jown. The first was of the great white hound which had 
leaped after him. The second was that the Mirror of the 
.World told lies. That this was his end he was certain, yet 
the little he had dared permit himself to glimpse in the 
Mirror had given no hint of an end anything like this. 

A good swimmer, as he was engulfed and sucked on in 
rapid, fluid darkness, he knew fear that he might have his 
brains knocked out by the stone walls or roof of the sub- 
terranean passage through which he was being swept. But 
the freak of the currents was such that not once did he 
collide with any part of his anatomy. Sometimes he was 
aware of being banked against water-cushions that tokened 
the imminence of a wall or boulder, at which times he 
shrank as it were into smaller compass, like a sea- turtle 
drawing in its head before the onslaught of sharks. 

Less than a minute, as he measured the passage of time 
by the holding of his breath, elapsed, ere, in an easier-flow- 
ing stream, his head emerged above the surface and he 
refreshed his lungs with great inhalations of cool air. Instead 
of swimming, he contented himself with keeping afloat, and 
with wondering what had happened to the hound and with 
what next excitement would vex his underground adventure. 
Soon he glimpsed light ahead, the dim but unmistakable 
light of day; and, as the way grew brighter, he turned his 
face back and saw what made him proceed to swim with a 
speed-stroke. What he saw was the hound, swimming high, 
with the teeth of its huge jaws gleaming in the increasing 
light. Under the source of the light, he saw a shelving bank 
and climbed out. His first thought, which he half carried 
out, was to reach into his pocket for the gems he had stolen 
from the Queen's chest. But a reverberant barking that 
grew to thunder in the cavern reminded him of his fanged 
pursuer, and he drew forth the Queen's dagger instead. 

204 



HEARTS OF THREE 205 

Again two thoughts divided his judgment for action. 
Should he try to kill the swimming brute ere it landed? Or 
should he retreat up the rocks toward the light on the chance 
that the stream might carry the hound past him? His 
judgment settled on the second course of action, and he fled 
upw r ard along a narrow ledge. But the dog landed and 
followed with such four-footed certainty of speed that it 
swiftly overtook him. Torres turned at bay on the cramped 
footing, crouched, and brandished the dagger against the 
brute's leap. 

But the hound did not leap. Instead, playfully, with jaws 
widespread of laughter, it sat down and extended its right 
paw in greeting. As he took the paw in his hand and shook 
it, Torres almost collapsed in the revulsion of relief. He 
laughed with exuberant shrilliness that advertised semi- 
hysteria, and continued to pump the hound's leg up and 
down, while the hound, with wide jaws and gentle eyes, 
laughed as exuberantly back. 

Pursuing the shelf, the hound contentedly at heel and 
occasionally sniffing his calves, Torres found that the narrow 
track, paralleling the river, after an ascent descended to it 
again. And then Torres saw two things, one that made him 
pause and shudder, and one that made his heart beat high 
with hope. The first was the underground river. Rushing 
straight at the wall of rock, it plunged into it in a chaos of 
foam and turbulence, with stiffly serrated and spitefully 
spitting waves that advertised its' swiftness and momentum. 
The second was an opening to one side, through which 
streamed white daylight. Possibly fifteen feet in diameter 
was this opening, but across it was stretched a spider web 
more monstrous than any product of a madman's fancy. 
Most ominous of all was the debris of bones that lay beneath. 
The threads of the web were of silver and of the thickness of 
a lead pencil. He shuddered as he touched a thread with 
his hand. It clung to his flesh like glue, and only by an 
effort that agitated the entire web did he succeed in freeing 
his hand. Upon his clothes and upon the coat of the dog he 
rubbed off the stickiness from his skin. 

Between two of the lower guys of the great web he saw 
that there was space for him to crawl through the opening 
to the day; but, ere he attempted it, caution led him to test 
the opening by helping and shoving the hound ahead of him. 
The white beast crawled and scrambled out of sight, and 
Torres was about to follow when it returned. Such was the 



206 HEARTS OF THREE 

panic haste of its return that it collided with him and both 
fell. But the man managed to save himself by clinging with 
his hands to the rocks, while the four-footed brute, not able 
so to check itself, fell into the churning water. Even as 
Torres reached a hand out to try to save it, the dog was 
carried under the rock. 

Long Torres debated. That farther subterranean plunge 
of the river was dreadful to contemplate. Above was the 
open way to the day, and the life of him yearned towards the 
day as a bee or a flower toward the sun. Yet what had the 
hound encountered to drive it back in such precipitate 
retreat? As he pondered, he became aware that his hand was 
resting on a rounded surface. He picked the object up, and 
gazed into the eyeless, noseless features of a human skull. 
His frightened glances played over the carpet of bones, and, 
beyond all idoubt, he made out the ribs and spinal columns 
and thigh bones of what had once been men. This inclined 
him toward the water as the way out, but at sight of the 
foaming madness of it plunging through solid rock he 
recoiled. 

Drawing the Queen's dagger, he crawled up between the 
web-guys with infinite carefulness, saw what the hound had 
seen, and came back in such vertigo of retreat that he, too, 
fell into the water, and, with but time to fill his lungs with 
air, was drawn into the opening and into darkness. 



In the meanwhile, back at the lake dwelling of the Queen, 
events no less portentous were occurring with no less equal 
rapidity. Just returned from the ceremony at the Long 
House, the wedding party was in the action of seating itself 
for what might be called the wedding breakfast, when an 
arrow, penetrating an interstice in the bamboo wall, flashed 
between the Queen and Francis and transfixed the opposite 
wall, where its feathered shaft vibrated from the violence of 
its suddenly arrested flight. A rush to the windows looking 
out upon the narrow bridge, showed Henry and Francis the 
gravity of the situation. Even as they looked, they saw the 
Queen's spearman who guarded the approach to the bridge, 
midway across it in flight, falling into the water with the 
shaft of an arrow vibrating out of his back in similar fashion 
to the one in the wall of the room. Beyond the bridge, on 
the shore, headed by their priest and backed by their women 



HEARTS OF THREE 207 

and children, all the male Lost Souls were arching the air 
full with feathered bolts from their bows. 

A spearman of the Queen tottered into the apartment, 
his limbs spreading vainly to support him, his eyes glazing, 
his lips beating a soundless message which his fading life 
could not utter, as he fell prone, his back bristling with 
arrow shafts like a porcupine. Henry sprang to the door that 
gave entrance from the bridge, and, with his automatic, 
swept it clear of the charging Lost Souls who- could advance 
only in single file and who fell as they advanced before his 
fire. 

The siege of the frail house was brief. Though Francis, 
protected by Henry's automatic, destroyed the bridge, by no 
method could the besieged put out the blazing thatch of roof 
ignited in a score of places by the fire-arrows discharged 
under the Sun Priest's directions. 

' There is but one way to escape," the Queen panted, on 
the platform overlooking the whirl of waters, as she clasped 
one hand of Francis in hers and threatened to precipitate 
herself clingingly into his arms. ' It wins to the world." 
She pointed to the sucking heart of the whirlpool. " No 
one has ever returned from that. In my Mirror I have beheld 
them pass, dead always, and out to the wider world. Except 
for Torres, I have never seen the living go. Only the dead. 
And they never returned.. Nor has Torres returned." 

All eyes looked to all eyes at sight of the dreadfumess of 
the way. 

' There is no other way?" Henry demanded, as he drew 
Leoncia close to him. 

The Queen shook her head. About them already burning 
portions of the thatch were falling, while their ears were 
deafened by the blood-lust chantings of the Lost Souls on 
the lake-shore. The Queen disengaged her hand from 
Francis', with the evident intention of dashing into her sleep- 
ing room, then caught his hand and led him in. As he stood 
wonderingly beside her, she slammed down the lid on the 
chest of jewels and fastened it. Next, she kicked aside the 
floor matting and lifted a trap door that opened down to the 
water. At her indication, Francis dragged over the chest 
and dropped it through. 

" Even the Sun Priest does not know that hiding place," 
she whispered, ere she caught his hand again, and, running, 
led him back to the others on the platform. 

" It is now time to depart from this place," she announced. 



208 HEARTS OF THREE 

" Hold me in your arms, good Francis, husband of mine, and 
lift me and leap with me," she commanded. ' We will lead 
the way." 

And so they leapt. As the roof was crashing down in a 
wrath of fire and flying embers, Henry caught Leoncia to 
him, and sprang after into the whirl of waters wherein 
Francis and the Queen had already disappeared. 



Like Torres, the four fugitives escaped injury against the 
rocks and were borne onward by the underground river to 
the daylight opening where the great spider-web guarded the 
way. Henry had an easier time of it, for Leoncia knew how 
to swim. But Francis' swimming prowess enabled him to 
keep the Queen up. She obeyed him implicitly, floating low 
in the water, nor clutched at his arms nor acted as a drag 
on him in any way. At the ledge, all four drew out of the 
water and rested. The two women devoted themselves to 
wringing out their hair, which had been flung adrift all about 
them by the swirling currents. 

" It is not the first mountain I have been in the heart of 
with you two, " Leoncia laughed to the Morgans, although 
more than for them was her speech intended for the Queen. 

" It is the first time I have been in the heart of 9. mountain 
with my husband," the Queen laughed back, and the barb of 
her dart sank deep into Leoncia. 

" Seems as though your wife, Francis, and my wife-to-be, 
aren't going to hit it off too well together," Henry said, with 
the sharpness of censure that man is wont to employ to 
conceal the embarrassment caused by his womankind. 

And. as inevitable result of such male men's ways, all that 
Henry gained was a silence more awkward and more em- 
barrassing. The two women almost enjoyed the situation. 
Francis cudgeled his brains vainly for some remark that 
wquld ameliorate matters; while Henry, in desperation, arose 
suddenly with the observation that he was going to " explore 
a bit," and invited, by his hand out to help her to her feet, 
the Queen to accompany him. Francis and Leoncia sat on 
for a moment in stubborn silence. He was the first to break 
it. 

" For two cents I'd give you a thorough shaking, Leoncia. " 

" And what have I done now?" she countered. 

" As if you didn't know. You've been behaving abomin- 
ably." 



HEARTS OF THREE 209 

' It is you who have behaved abominably," she half- 
sobbed, in spite of her determination to betray no such 
feminine signs of weakness. ' Who asked you to marry 
her? You did not draw the short straw. Yet you must 
volunteer, must rush in where even angels would fear to 
tread ? Did I ask you to ? Almost did my heart stop beating 
when I heard you tell Henry you would marry her. I thought 
I was going to faint. You had not even consulted me; yet 
it was on my suggestion, in order to save you from .her, that 

the straws were drawn yes, and I am not too little 

shameless to admit that it was because I wanted to save you 
for myself . Henry does not love me as you led me to believe 
you loved me. I never loved Henry as I loved you, as I do 
love you even now, God forgive me." 

Francis was swept beyond himself. He caught her and 
pressed her to him in a crushing embrace. 

And on your very wedding day," she gasped reproach- 
fully in the midmost of his embrace. 

His arm died away from about her. 

" And this from you, Leoncia, at such a moment," he 
murmured sadly. 

And why not?" she flared. ' You loved me. You gave 
me to understand, beyond all chance of misunderstanding, 
that you loved me; yet here, to-day, you went out of your 
way, went eagerly and gladly, and married yourself to the 
first woman with a white skin who presented herself." 

' You are jealous," he charged, and knew a heart-throb of 
joy as she nodded. " And I grant you are jealous; but at 
the same time, exercising the woman's prerogative of lying, 
you are lying now. What I did, was not done eagerly nor 

gladly. I did it for your sake and my sake or for Henry's 

sake, rather. Thank God, I have a man's honor still left to 
me!" 

" Man's honour does not always satisfy woman," she 
replied. 

' Would you prefer me dishonorable?" he was swift on the 
uptake. 

' I am only a woman who loves," she pleaded. 

" You are a stinging, female wasp," he raged, " and you 
are not fair." 

" Is any woman fair when she loves?" she made the great 
confession and acknowledgment. "Men may succeed in living 
in their heads of honor; but know, and as a humble woman 



210 HEARTS OF THREE 

I humbly state my womanhood, that woman lives only in 
her heart of love." 

" Perhaps you are right. Honor, like arithmetic, can be 
reasoned and calculated. Which leaves a woman no morality, 
but only . . ." 

" Only moods," Leoncia completed abjectly for him. 

Calls from Henry and the Queen put an end to the con- 
versation, for Leoncia and Francis quickly joined the others 
in gazing at the great web. 

" Did you ever see so monstrous a web!" Leoncia ex- 
claimed. 

" I'd like to see the monster that made it," said Henry. 

And I'd rather see than be it," Francis paraphrased from 
the " Purple Cow." 

It is our good fortune that we do not have to go that 
way," the Queen said. 

All looked inquiry at her, and she pointed down to the 
stream. 

' That is the way," she said. " I know it. Often and 
often, in my Mirror of the World, have I seen the way. 
When my mother died and was buried in the whirlpool, I 
followed her body in the Mirror, and I saw it come to this 
place and go by this place still in the water." 
But she was dead," Leoncia objected quickly. 

The rivalry between them fanned instantly. 

" One of my spearmen," the Queen went on quietly, " a 
handsome youth, alas, dared to look at me as a lover. He 
was flung in alive. I watched him, too, in the Mirror. When 
he came to this place he climbed out. I saw him crawl under 
the web to the day, and I saw him retreat backward from the 
day and throw himself into the stream. ' ' 

" Another dead one," Henry commented grimly. 

" No; for I followed him on in the Mirror, and though 
all was darkness for a time and I could see nothing, in the 
end, and shortly, under the sun he emerged into the bosom 
of a large river, and swam to the shore, and climbed the 

bank it was the left hand bank as I remember well 

and disappeared among large trees such as do not grow in 
the Valley of the Lost Souls." 

But, like Torres, the rest of them recoiled from thought of 
the dark plunge through the living rock. 

' These are the bones of animals and of men," the Queen 
warned, " who were daunted by the way of the water and 
who strove to gain the sun. Men there are there behold ! 



HEARTS OF THREE 211 

Or at least what remains of them for a space, the bones, ere, 
in time, the bones, too, pass into nothingness." 

" Even so," said Francis, " I suddenly discover a pressing 
need to look into the eye of the sun. Do the rest of you 
remain here while I investigate." 

Drawing his automatic, the water-tightness of the cart- 
ridges a guarantee, he crawled under the web. The moment 
he had disappeared from view beyond the web, they heard 
him begin to shoot. Next, they saw him retreating back- 
ward, still shooting. And, next, falling upon him, two yards 
across from black-haired leg-tip to black-haired leg-tip, the 
denizen of the web, a monstrous spider, still wriggling with 
departing life, shot through and through again and again. 
The solid center of its body, from which the legs radiated, 
was the size of a normal waste-basket, and the substantial 
density of it crunched audibly as it struck on Francis' 
shoulders and back, rebounded, the hairy legs still helplessly 
quivering, and pitched down into the wave-crisping water. 
All four pair of eyes watched the corpse of it plunge against 
the wall of rock, suck down, and disappear. 

' Where there's one, there are two," said Henry, looking 
dubiously up toward the daylight. 

"It is the only way," said the Queen. " Come, my 
husband, each in the other's arms let us win through the 
darkness to the sun-bright world. Kemember, I have never 
seen it, and soon, with you, shall I for the first time see it." 

Her arms open in invitation, Francis could not decline. 
' It is a hole in the sheer wall of a precipice a thousand 
feet deep," he explained to the others the glimpse he had 
caught from beyond the spider web, as he clasped the Queen 
in his arms and leaped off. 

Henry had gathered Leoncia to him and was about to leap, 
when she stopped him. 

Why did you accept Francis' sacrifice?" she demanded. 
Because . . . He paused and looked at her wonder- 
ingly. 

" Because I wanted you," he completed. " Because I 
was engaged to you as well, while Francis was unattached. 
Besides, if I'm not greatly mistaken, Francis appears to be a 
pretty well satisfied bridegroom." 

" No," she shook her head emphatically. " He has a 
chivalrous spirit, and he is acting his part in order not to 
hurt her feelings." 

Oh, I don't know. Remember, before the altar, at the 



212 HEAETS OF THREE 

Long House, when I said I was going to ask the Queen to 
marry me, that he bragged she wouldn't marry me if I did 
ask? Well, the conclusion's pretty obvious that he wanted 
her himself. And why shouldn't he? He's a bachelor. And 
she's some nice woman herself." 

But Leoncia scarcely heard. With a quick movement, 
leaning back in his arms away from him so that she could 
look him squarely in the eyes, she demanded : 

' ' How do you love me ? Do you love me madly ? Do you 
love me badly madly? Do I mean that to you, and more, 
and more, and more?" 

He could only look his bewilderment. 

" Do you? do you?" she urged passionately. 

" Of course I do," he made slow answer, " but it would 
never have entered my head to describe it that way. Why, 
you're the one woman for me. Bather would I describe it 
as loving you deeply, and greatly, and enduringly. W 7 hy, 
you seem so much a part of me that I feel almost as if I had 
always, known you. It was that way from the first." 

" She is an abominable woman!" Leoncia broke forth 
irrelevantly. " I hated her from the first." 

" My! What a spitfire! I hate to think how much you 
would have hated her had I married her instead of Francis." 

" We'd better follow them," she put an end to the dis- 
cussion. 

And Henry, very much bepuzzled, clasped her tightly and 
leaped off into the white turmoil of water. 



On the bank of the Gualaca Kiver sat two Indian girls 
fishing. Just up-stream from them arose the precipitous 
cliff of one of the buttresses of the lofty mountains. The main 
stream flowed past in chocolate-colored spate; but, directly 
beneath them, where they fished, was a quiet eddy. No less 
quiet was the fishing. No bites jerked their rods in token 
that the bait was enticing. One of them, Nicoya, yawned, 
ate ja banana, yawned again, and held the skin she was 
about to cast aside suspended in her hand. 

" We have been very quiet, Concordia," she observed to 
her companion, " and it has won us no fish. Now shall I 
make a noise and a splash. Since they say * what goes up 
must come down,' why should not something come up after 
something has gone down ? I am going to try. There ! ' ' 



HEARTS OF THREE 213 

She threw the banana peel into the water and lazily 
watched the point where it had struck. 

' If anything comes up I hope it will be big," Concordia 
murmured with equal laziness. 

And upon their astonished gaze, even as they looked, arose 
up out of the brown depths a great white hound. They 
jerked their poles up and behind them on the bank, threw 
their arms about each other, and watched the hound gain 
the shore at the lower end of the eddy, climb the sloping 
bank, pause to shake himself, and then disappear among 
the trees. 

Nicoya and Concordia giggled. 
'Try it again," Concordia urged. 
' No; you this time. And see what you can bring up." 

Quite unbelieving, Concordia tossed in a clod of earth. 
And almost immediately a helmeted head arose on the flood. 
Clutching each other very tightly, they watched the man 
under the helmet gain the shore where the hound had landed 
and disappear into the forest. 

Again the two Indian girls giggled ; but this time, urge as 
they would, neither could raise the courage to throw anything 
into the water. 

Some time later, still giggling over the strange occurrences, 
they were espied by two young Indian men, who were hug- 
ging the bank as they paddled their canoe up against the 
stream. 

What makes you laugh," one of them greeted. 
We have been seeing things," Nicoya gurgled down to 
them. 

" Then have you been drinking pulque," the young man 
charged. 

Both girls shook their heads, and Concordia said : 

We don't have to drink to see things. First, when 
Nicoya threw in a banana skin, we saw a dog come up out 

of the water a white dog that was as big as a tiger of the 

mountains " 

And when Concordia threw in a clod," the other girl 
took up the tale, " up came a man with a head of iron. It 
is magic. Concordia and I can work magic." 

" Jose\" one of the Indians addressed his mate, " this 
merits a drink." 

And each, in turn, while the other with his paddle held 
the canoe in place, took a swig from a square-face Holland 
gin bottle part full of pulque. 



214 HEAETS OF THREE 

" No," said Jose, when the girls had begged him for a 
drink. " One drink of pulque and you might see more white 
dogs as big as tigers or more iron-headed men." 

" All right," Nicoya accepted the rebuff. " Then do you 
throw in your pulque bottle and see what you will see. We 
drew a dog and a man. Your prize may be the devil." 

" I should like to see the devil," said Jose, taking another 
drain at the bottle. ' The pulque is a true fire of bravery. 
I should very much like to see the devil." 

He passed the bottle to his companion with a gesture to 
finish it. 

" Now throw it into the water," Jose" commanded. 

The empty bottle struck with a forceful splash, and the 
evoking was realized with startling immediacy, for up to 
the surface floated the monstrous, hairy body of the slain 
spider. Which was too much for ordinary Indian flesh and 
blood. So suddenly did both young men recoil from the 
sight that they capsized the canoe. When their heads 
emerged from the water they struck out for the swift cur- 
rent, and were swiftly borne away down stream, followed 
more slowly by the swamped canoe. 

Nicoya and Concordia had been too frightened to giggle. 
They held on to each other and waited, watching the magic 
water and out of the tails of their eyes observing the 
frightened young men capture the canoe, tow it to shore, 
and run out and hide on the bank. 

The afternoon sun was getting low in the sky ere the 
girls summoned courage again to evoke the magic water. 
Only after much discussion did they agree both to fling in 
clods of earth at the same time. And up arose a man and a 
woman Francis and the Queen. The girls fell over back- 
ward into the bushes, and were themselves unobserved as 
they watched Francis swim with the Queen to shore. 

" It may just have happened all these things may just 

have happened at the very times we threw things into the 
water," Nicoya whispered to Concordia five minutes later. 

" But when we threw one thing in, only one came up," 
Concordia argued. " And when we threw two, two came 
up." 

' Very well," said Nicoya. " f Let us now prove it. Let 
us try again, both of us. If nothing comes up, then have 
we no power of magic." 

Together they threw in clods, and uprose another man 
and womaji But this pair, Henry and Leoncia, could swim, 



HEARTS OF THREE 215 

and they swam side by side to the natural landing place, 
and, like the rest that had preceded them, passed on out of 
sight among the trees. 

Long the two Indian girls lingered. For they had agreed 
to throw nothing, and, if something arose, then would coin- 
cidence be proved. But if nothing arose, because nothing 
further was by them evoked, they could only conclude that 
the magic was truly theirs. They lay hidden and w r atched 
the water until darkness hid it from their eyes; and, slowly 
and soberly, they took the trail back to their village, over- 
come by an awareness of having been blessed by the gods. 



CHAPTEE XXII 

NOT until the day following his escape from the subterranean 
river, did Torres reach San Antonio. He arrived on foot, 
jaded and dirty, a small Indian boy at his heels carrying the 
helmet of Da Vasco. For Torres wanted to show the helmet 
to the Jefe and the Judge in evidence of the narrative 
of strange adventure he chuckled to tell them. 

First on the main street he encountered the Jefe, who 
cried out loudly at his appearance. 

" Is it truly you, Senor Torres?" The Jefe crossed him- 
self solemnly ere he shook hands. 

The solid flesh, and, even more so, the dirt and grit of the 
other's hand, convinced the Jefe of reality and substance. 

Whereupon the Jefe became wrathful. 

" And here I've been looking upon you as dead!" he ex- 
claimed. "That Caroo dog of a Jose" Mancheno ! He came back 

and reported you dead dead and buried until the Day 

of Judgment in the heart of the Maya Mountain." 

" He is a fool, and I am possibly the richest man in 
Panama," Torres replied grandiosely. " At least, like the 
ancient and heroic conquistadores, I have braved all dangers 
and penetrated to the treasure. I have seen it. Nay " 

Torres' hand had been sunk into his trousers' pocket to 
bring forth the filched gems of the Lady Who Dreams; but 
he withdrew the hand empty. Too many curious eyes of 
the street were already centered upon him and the draggled 
figure he cut. 

" I have much to say to you," he told the Jefe, " that 
cannot well be said now. I have knocked on the doors of 
the dead and worn the shrouds of corpses. And I have con- 
sorted with men four centuries dead but who were not dust, 
and I have beheld them drown in the second death. I have 
gone through mountains, as well as over them, and broken 
bread with lost souls, and gazed into the Mirror of the 
World. All of which I shall tell you, my best friend, and the 

216 



HEARTS OF THREE 217 

honorable Judge, in due time, for I shall make you rich 
along with me." 

1 Have you looked upon the pulque when it was sour?" 
the Jefe quipped incredulously. 

" I have not had drink stronger than water since I last 
departed from San Antonio," was the reply. " And I shall 
go now to my house and drink a long long drink, and after 
that I shall bathe the filth from me, and put on garments 
whole and decent." 

Not immediately, as he proceeded, did Torres gain his 
house. A ragged urchin exclaimed out at sight of him, 
ran up to him, and handed him an envelope that he knew 
familiarly to be from the local government wireless, and 
that he was certain had been sent by Began. 

You are doing well. Imperative you keep party away 
from New York for three weeks more. Fifty thousand 
if you succeed. 

Borrowing a pencil from the boy, Torres wrote a reply 
on the back of the envelope : 

Send the money. Party will never come back from 
mountains where he is lost. 

Two other occurrences delayed Torres' long drink and 
bath. Just as he was entering the jewelry store of old 
Kodriguez Fernandez, he was intercepted by the old Maya 
priest with whom he had last parted in the Maya mountain. 
He recoiled as from an apparition, for sure he was that the 
old man was drowned in the Boom of the Gods. Like the 
Jefe at sight of Torres, so Torres, at sight of the priest, 
drew back in startled surprise. 

" Go away," he said. " Depart, restless old man. "You 
are a spirit. Thy body lies drowned and horrible in the 
heart of the mountain. You are an appearance, a ghost. 
Go away, nothing corporeal resides in this illusion of you, 
else would I strike you. You are a ghost. Depart at once. 
I should not like to strike a ghost." 

But the ghost seized his hands and clung to them with 
ouch beseeching corporality as to unconvince him. 

" Money," the ancient one babbled. " Let me have 

money. Lend me money. I will repay 1 who know the 

secrets of the Maya treasure. My son is lost in the moun- 
tain with the treasure. The Gringos also are lost in the 



218 HEARTS OF THREE 

mountain. Help me to rescue my son. With him alone 
will I be satisfied, while the treasure shall all be yours. But 
we must take men, and much of the white man's wonderful 
powder and tear a hole out of the mountain so that the water 
will run away. He is not drowned. He is a prisoner of the 
water in the room where stand the jewel-eyed Chia and 
Hzatzl. Their eyes of green and red alone will pay for 
all the wonderful powder in the world. So let me have the 
money with which to buy the wonderful powder." 

But Alvarez Torres was a strangely constituted man. 
Some warp or slant or idiosyncrasy of his nature always 
raised insuperable obstacles to his parting with money when 
such parting was unavoidable. And the richer he got the 
more positively this idiosyncrasy asserted itself. 

" Money!" he asserted harshly, as he thrust the old priest 
aside and pulled open the door of Fernandez's store. " Is 
it I who* should have money . I who am all rags and 
tatters as a beggar. I have no money for myself, much less 
for you, old man. Besides, it was you, and not I, who led 
your son to the Maya mountain. On your head be it, not 
on mine, the death of your son who fell into the pit under 
the feet of Chia that was digged by your ancestors and not 
by mine." 

Again the ancient one clutched at him and yammered for 
money with which to buy dynamite. So roughly did Torres 
thrust him aside that his old legs failed to perform their 
wonted duty and he fell upon the flagstones. 

The shop of Rodriguez Fernandez w 7 as small and dirty, 
and contained scarcely more than a small and dirty show- 
case that rested upon an equally small and dirty counter. 
The place was grimy with the undusted and unswept filth 
of a generation. Lizards and cockroaches crawled along 
the walls. Spiders webbed in every corner, and Torres saw, 
crossing the ceiling above, what made him step hastily to 
the side. It was a seven-inch centipede which he did not 
care to have fall casually upon his head or down his back 
between shirt and skin. And, when he appeared crawling 
out like a huge spider himself from some inner den of an 
unventilated cubicle, Fernandez looked like an Elizabethan 

stage-representation of Shylock withal he was a dirtier 

Shylock than even the Elizabethan stage could have 
stomached. 

The jeweler fawned to Torres and in a cracked falsetto 
humbled himself even beneath the dirt of his shop. Torres 



HEARTS OF THREE 219 

pulled from his pocket a haphazard dozen or more of the 
gems filched from the Queen's chest, selected the smallest, 
and, without a word, while at the same time returning the 
rest to his pocket, passed it over to the jeweler. 

' I am a poor man," he cackled, the while Torres could 
not fail to see how keenly he scrutinised the gem. 

He dropped it on the top of the show case as of little 
worth, and looked inquiringly at his customer. But Torres 
waited in a silence which he knew would compel the garrulity 
of covetous age to utterance. 

" Do I understand that the honorable Senor Torres seeks 
advice about the quality of the stone?" the old jeweler finally 
quavered. 

Torres did no more than nod curtly. 

" It is a natural gem. It is small. It, as you can see 
for yourself, is not perfect. And it is clear that much 
of it will be lost in the cutting." 

" How much is it worth?" Torres demanded with im- 
patient bluntness. 

" I am a poor man," Fernandez reiterated. 

" I have not asked you to buy it, old fool. But now that 
you bring the matter up, how much will you give for 
it?" 

" As I was saying, craving your patience, honorable senor, 
as I was saying, I am a very poor man. There are days 
when I cannot spend ten centavos for a morsel of spoiled 
fish. There are days when I cannot afford a sip of the 
cheap red wine I learned was tonic to my system when I 
\vas a lad, far from Barcelona, serving my apprenticeship 
in Italy. I am so very poor that I do not buy costly 
pretties 

" Not to sell again at a profit?" Torres cut in. 

" If I am sure of my profit," the old man cackled. ' Yes, 
then will I buy ; but, being poor, I cannot pay more than 
little." He picked up the gem and studied it long and care- 
fully. " I would give," he began hesitatingly, " I would 

give but, please, honorable senor, know that I am a 

very poor man. This day only a spoonful of onion soup, 
with my morning coffee and a mouthful of crust, passed 
my lips " 

" In God's name, old fool, what will you give?" Torres 
thundered. 

" Five hundred dollars but I doubt the profit that will 
remain to me." 



220 HEARTS OF THREE 

"Gold?" 

" Mex.," came the reply, which cut the offer in half 
and which Torres knew was a lie. " Of course, Mex., only 
Mex., all our transactions are in Mex." 

Despite his elation at so large a price for so small a 
gem, Torres play-acted impatience as he reached to take 
back the gem. But the old man jerkgd his hand away, loath 
to let go of the bargain it contained. 

We are old' friends," he cackled shrilly. " I first saw 
you, when, a boy, you came to San Antonio from Boca del 
Toros. And, as between old friends, we will say the sum is 
gold." 

And Torres caught a sure but vague glimpse of the enor- 
mousness, as well as genuineness, of the Queen's treasure 
which at some remote time the Lost Souls had ravished from 
its hiding place in the Maya Mountain. 

' Very good," said Torres, with a quick, cavalier action 
recovering the stone. " It belongs to a friend of mine. He 
wanted to borrow money from me on it. I can now lend him 
up to five hundred gold on it, thanks to your information. 
And I shall be grateful to buy for you, the next time we meet 
in the pulqueria, a drink yes, as many drinks as you can 
care to carry of the thin, red, tonic wine." 

And as Torres passed out of the shop, not in any way 
attempting to hide the scorn and contempt he felt for the fool 
he had made of the jeweler, he knew elation in that Fernan- 
dez, the Spanish fox, must have cut his estimate of the gem's 
value fully in half when he uttered it. 

In the meanwhile, descending the Gualaca River by canoe, 
Leoncia, the Queen, and the two Morgans, had made better 
time than Torres to the coast. But ere their arrival and 
briefly pending it, a matter of moment that was not appre- 
ciated at the time, had occurred at the Solano hacienda. 
Climbing the winding pathway to the hacienda, accompanied 
by a decrepit old crone whose black shawl over head and 
shoulders could not quite hide the lean and withered face of 
blasted volcanic fire, came as strange a caller as the hacienda 
had ever received. 

He was a Chinaman, middle-aged and fat, whose moon- 
lace beamed the beneficent good nature that seems usual with 
fat persons. By name, Yi Poon, meaning " the Cream of 
the Custard Apple," his manners were as softly and richly 
oily as his name. To the old crone, who tottered beside him 



HEARTS OF THREE 221 

and was half -supported by him, he was the quintessence of 
gentleness and consideration. When she faltered from sheer 
physical weakness and would have fallen, he paused and gave 
her chance to gain strength and breath. Thrice, at such 
times, on the climb to the hacienda, he fed her a spoonful of 
French brandy from a screw-cap pocket flask. 

Seating the old woman in a selected, shady corner of the 
piazza, Yi Poon boldly knocked for admittance at the front 
door. To him, and in his business, back-stairs was the 
accustomed way; but his business and his wdt had taught him 
the times when front entrances were imperative. 

The Indian maid who answered his knock, took his message 
into the living room wiiere sat the disconsolate Enrico Solano 
among his sons disconsolate at the report Bicardo had 
brought in of the loss of Leoncia in the Maya Mountain. The 
Indian maid returned to the door. The Senor Solano was 
indisposed and would see nobody, was her report, humbly 
delivered, even though the recipient was a Chinese. 

' ' Huh 1 ' ' observed Yi Poon, with braggart confidence for 
the purpose of awing the maid to carrying a second message. 
" I am no coolie. 1 am smart Chinaman. I go to school 
plenty much. I speak Spanish. I speak English. I write 
Spanish. I write English. See I write now in Spanish for 
the Senor Solano. You cannot write, so you cannot read 
what I write. I write that I am Yi Poon. I belong Colon. 
I come this place to see Senor Solano. Big business. Much 
important. Very secret. I write all this here on paper 
which you cannot read." 

But he did not say that he had further written : 
' The Senorita Solano. I have great secret." 

It was Alesandro, the eldest of the tall sons of Solano, who 
evidently had received the note, for he came bounding to 
the door, far outstripping the returning maid. 

Tell me your business ! " he almost shouted at the fat 
Chinese. " What is it? Quick!" 

4 Very good business," was the reply, Yi Poon noting the 
other's excitement with satisfaction. " I make much money. 
I buy what you call secrets. I sell secrets. Very nice 
business." 

' What do you know about the Senorita Solano?" Ales- 
andro shouted, gripping him by the shoulder. 

Everything. Very important information " 

But Alesandro could no longer control himself. He almost 



222 HEARTS OF THREE 

hurled the Chinaman into the house, and, not relaxing his 
grip, rushed him on into the living room and up to Enrico. 

" He has news of Leoncia!" Alesandro shouted. 

' Where is she?" Enrico and his sons shouted in chorus. 

Hah ! was Yi Poon's thought. Such excitement, although 
it augured well for his business, was rather exciting for him 
as well. 

Mistaking his busy thinking for fright, Enrico stilled his 
sons back with an upraised hand, and addressed the visitor 
quietly. 

' Where is she?" Enrico asked. 

Hah ! thought Yi Poon. The senorita was lost. That 
was a new secret. It might be worth something some day, 
or any day. A nice girl, of high family and wealth such as 
the Solanos, lost in a Latin-American country, was informa- 
tion well worth possessing. Some day she might be married 
there was that gossip he had heard in Colon and some 
later day she might have trouble with her husband or her 

husband have trouble with her -at which time, she or her 

husband, it mattered not which, might be eager to pay high 
for the secret. 

This Senorita Leoncia," he said, finally, with sleek 
suavity. " She is not your girl. She has other papa and 
mama." 

But Enrico's present grief at her loss was too great to 
permit startlement at this explicit statement of an old secret. 
' Yes," he nodded. ' Though it is not known outside 
my family, 1 adopted her when she was a baby. It is 
strange that you should know this. But I am not interested 
in having you tell me what I have long since known. What 
I want to know now is: where is she now?" 

Yi Poon gravely and sympathetically shook his head. 

" That is different secret," he explained. " Maybe I find 
that secret. Then I sell it to you. But I have old secret. 
You do not know the name of the Senorita Leoncia's papa 
and mama. I know." 

And old Enrico Solano could not hide his interest at the 
temptation of such information. 

" Speak," he commanded. " Name the names, and prove 
them, and I shall reward." 

" No," Yi Poon shook his head. ' Very poor business. I 
no do business that way. You pay me I tell you. My 
secrets good secrets. I prove my secrets. You give me five 



HEARTS OF THREE 223 

hundred pesos and big expenses from Colon to San Antonio 
and back to Colon and I tell you name of papa and mama." 

Enrico Solano bowed acquiescence, and was just in the act 
of ordering Alesandro to go and fetch the money, when the 
quiet, spirit-subdued Indian maid created a diversion. Bun- 
ning into the room and up to Enrico as they had never seen 
her run before, she wrung her hands and wept so incoherently 
that they knew her paroxysm was of joy, not of sadness. 

' The Senorita !" she was finally able to whisper hoarsely, 
as she indicated the side piazza with a nod of head and glance 
of eyes. " The Senorita!" 

And Yi Poon and his secret were forgotten. Enrico and 
his sons streamed out to the side piazza to behold Leoncia 
and the Queen and the two Morgans, dropping dust-covered 
off the backs of riding mules recognizable as from the pastures 
of the mouth of the Gualaca Kiver. At the same time two 
Indian man-servants, summoned by the maid, cleared the 
house and grounds of the fat Chinaman and his old crone of 
a companion. 

" Come some other time," they told him. " Just now 
the Senor Solano is very importantly busy." 

" Sure, I come some other time," Yi Poon assured them 
pleasantly, without resentment and without betrayal of the 
disappointment that was his at his deal interrupted just ere 
the money was paid into his hand. 

But he departed reluctantly. The place was good for his 
business. It was sprouting secrets. Never was there a 
riper harvest in Canaan out of which, sickle in hand, a hus- 
bandman was driven! Had it not been for the zealous 
Indian attendants, Yi Poon would have darted around the 
corner of the hacienda to note the newcomers. As it was, 
half way down the hill, finding the weight of the crone too 
fatiguing, he put into her the life and ability to carry her own 
weight a little farther by feeding her a double teaspoonf ul of 
brandy from his screw-top flask. 

Enrico swept Leoncia off her mule ere she could dismount, 
so passionately eager was he to fold her in his arms. For 
several minutes ensued naught but noisy Latin affection as 
her brothers all strove to greet and embrace her at once. 
When they recollected themselves, Francis had already helped 
the Lady Who Dreams from her mount, and beside her, her 
hand in his, was waiting recognition. 

' This is my wife," Francis told Enrico. " I went into 
the Cordilleras after treasure, and behold what I found. Was 
there ever better fortune?" 



224 HEARTS OF THREE 

And she sacrificed a great treasure herself," Leoncia 
murmured bravely. 

" She was queen of a little kingdom," Francis added, with 
a grateful and admiring flash of eyes to Leoncia, who quickly 
added : 

" And she saved all our lives but sacrificed her little 
kingdom in so doing." 

And Leoncia, in an exaltation of generousness, put her arm 
around the Queen's waist, took her away from Francis, and 
led the way into the hacienda. 



CHAPTEK XXIII 

IN all the magnificence of medieval Spanish and New World 
costume such as was still affected by certain of the great 
haciendados of Panama, Torres rode along the beach-road 
to the home of the Solanos. Running with him, at so easy 
a lope that it promised an extension that would outspeed 
the best of Torres' steed, was the great white hound that had 
followed him down the subterranean river. As Torres turned 
to take the winding road up the hill to the hacienda, he 
passed Yi Poon, who had paused to let the old crone gather 
strength. He merely noticed the strange couple as dirt of 
the common people. The hauteur that he put on with his 
magnificence of apparel forbade that he should betray any 
interest further than an unseeing glance. 

But him Yi Poon noted with slant Oriental eyes that 
missed no details. And Yi Poon thought: He looks very 
rich. He is a friend of the Solanos. He rides to the house. 
He may even be a lover of the Senorita Leoncia. Or a 
worsted rival for her love. In almost any case, he might be 
expected to buy the secret of the Senorita Leoncia's birth, 
and he certainly looks rich, most rich. 

Inside the hacienda, assembled in the living room, were 
the returned adventurers and all the Solanos. The Queen, 
taking her turn in piecing out the narrative of all that had 
occurred, with flashing eyes was denouncing Torres for his 
theft of her jewels and describing his fall into the whirlpool 
before the onslaught of the hound, when Leoncia, at the 
window with Henry, uttered a sharp exclamation. 

" Speak of the devil !" said Henry. " Here comes Torres 
himself." 

" Me first !" Francis cried, doubling his fist and flexing his 
biceps significantly. 

" No," decreed Leoncia. " He is a wonderful liar. He 
is a very Wonderful liar, as we've all found out. Let us have 
some fun, He is dismounting now. Let the four of us dis- 



226 HEAETS OF THEEE 

appear. Father!" With a wave of hand she indicated 
Enrico and all his sons. ' You will sit around desolated 
over the loss of me. This scoundrel Torres will enter. You 
will be thirsty for information. He will tell you no one can 
guess what astounding lies about us. As for us, we'll hide 
behind the screen there. Come ! All of you ! ' ' 

And, catching the Queen by the hand and leading the way, 
with her eyes she commanded Francis and Henry to follow 
to the hiding place. 

And Torres entered upon a scene of sorrow which had been 
so recently real that Enrico and his sons had no difficulty in 
acting it. Enrico started up from his chair in eagerness of 
welcome and sank weakly back. Torres caught the other's 
hand in both his own and manifested deep sympathy and 
could not speak from emotion. 

" Alas!" he finally managed heart-brokenly. " They are 
dead. She is dead, your beautiful daughter, Leoncia. And 
the two Gringo Morgans are dead with her. As Eicardo, 
there, must know, they died in the heart of the Maya Moun- 
tain. 

" It is the home of mystery," he continued, after giving 
due time for the subsidence of the first violent outburst of 
Enrico's grief. " I was with them when they died. Had 
they followed my counsel, they would all have lived. But 
not even Leoncia would listen to the old friend of the Solanos. 
No, she must listen to the two Gringos. After incredible 
dangers I won my way out through the heart of the moun- 
tain, gazed down into the Valley of Lost Souls, and returned 
into the mountain to find them dying " 

Here, pursued by an Indian man-servant, the white hound 
bounded into the room, trembling and whining in excitement 
as with its nose it quested the multitudinous scents of the 
room that advertised his mistress. Before he could follow 
up to where the Queen hid behind the screen, Torres caught 
him, by the neck and turned him over to a couple of the 
Indian house-men to hold. 

" Let the brute remain," said Torres. " I will tell you 
about him afterward. But first look at this." He pulled 
forth a handful of gems. " I knocked on the doors of the 
dead, and, behold, the Maya treasure is mine. I am the 
richest man in Panama, in all the Americas. I shall be 
powerful " 

" But you were with my daughter when she died." Enrico 
interrupted to sob, " Had she no word for me?" 



HEARTS OF THREE 227 

" Yes," Torres sobbed back, genuinely affected by the 
death-scene of his fancy. " She died with your name on her 

lips. Her last words were " 

But, with bulging eyes, he failed to complete his sentence, 
for he was watching Henry and Leoncia, in the most natural, 
casual manner in the world stroll down the room, immersed 
in quiet conversation. Not noticing Torres, they crossed 
over to the window still deep in talk. 

" You were telling me her last words were . . . ?" Enrico 
prompted. 

" I . . .1 have lied to you," Torres stammered, while he 
sparred for time in which to get himself out of the scrape. 
" I was confident that they were as good as dead and would 
never find their way to the world again. And I thought to 
soften the blow to you, Senor Solano, by telling what I am 
confident would be her last words were she dying. Also, 
this man Francis, whom you have elected to like. I thought 
it better for you to believe him dead than know him for the 
Gringo cur he is." 

Here the hound barked joyfully at the screen, giving the 
two Indians all they could do to hold him back. But Torres, 
instead of suspecting, blundered on to his fate. 

In the Valley there is a silly weak demented creature 
who pretends to read the future by magic. An altogether 
atrocious and blood-thirsty female is she. I am not denying 
that in physical beauty she is beautiful. For beautiful she 
is, as a centipede is beautiful to those who think centipedes 
are beautiful. You see what has happened. She has sent 
Henry and Leoncia out of the Valley by some secret way, 

while Francis has elected to remain there with her in sin 

for sin it is, since there exists in the valley no Catholic priest 
to make their relation lawful. Oh, not that Francis is in- 
fatuated with the terrible creature. But he is infatuated 
with a paltry treasure the creature possesses. And this is 
the Gringo Francis you have welcomed into the bosom of your 
familv, the slimy snake of a Gringo Francis who has even 
flared to sully the fair Leoncia by casting upon her the looks 

of a lover. Oh, I know of what I speak. I have seen " 

A joyous outburst from the hound drowned his voice, and 
he beheld Francis and the Queen, as deep in conversation as 
the two who had preceded them, walk down the room. The 
Queen paused to caress the hound, who stood so tall against 
her that his forepaws, on her shoulders, elevated his head 
above hers; while Torres licked his suddenly dry lips and 



228 HEARTS OF THREE 

vainly cudgeled his brains for some fresh lie with which to 
extricate himself from the impossible situation. 

Enrico Solano was the first to break down in mirth. All 
his sons joined him, while tears of sheer delight welled out of 
his eyes. 

I could have married her myself," Torres sneered malig- 
nantly. " She begged me on her knees." 

And now," said Francis, " I shall save you all a dirty 
job by throwing him out." 

But Henry,- advancing swiftly, asserted : 

I like dirty jobs equally. And this is a dirty job parti- 
cularly to my liking." 

Both the Morgans were about to fall on Torres, when the 
Queen held up her hand. 

First," she said, " let him return to me, from there in 
his belt, the dagger he stole from me." 

" Ah," said Enrico, when this had been accomplished. 
" Should he not also return to you, lovely lady, the gems he 
filched?" 

Torres did not hesitate. Dipping into his pocket, he laid a 
handful of the jewels on the table. Enrico glanced at the 
Queen, who merely waited expectantly. 

" More," said Enrico. 

And three more of the beautiful uncut stones Torres added 
to the others on the table. 

' Would you search me like a common pickpocket?" he 
demanded in frantic indignation, turning both trousers' 
pockets emptily inside out. 

' Me," said Francis. 

" I insist," said Henry. 

"Oh, all very well," Francis conceded. " Then we'll do 
it together. We can throw him farther off the steps." 

Acting as one, they clutched Torres by collar and trousers 
and started in a propulsive rush for the door. 

All others in the room ran to the windows to behold Torres' 
exjt; but Enrico, quickest of all, gained a window first. And, 
afterward, into the middle of the room, the Queen scooped 
the gems from the table into both her hands, and gave the 
double handful to Leoncia, saying : 

" From Francis and me to you and Henry your 

wedding present." 

Yi Poon, having left the crone by the beach and crept back 
to peer at the house from the bushes, chuckled gratified!^ to 



HEARTS OF THREE 229 

himself when he saw the rich caballero thrown off the steps 
with such a will as to be sent sprawling far out into the 
gravel. But Yi Poon was too clever to let on that he had 
seen. Hurrying away, he was half down the hill ere over- 
taken by Torres on his horse. 

The celestial addressed him humbly, and Torres, in his 
general rage, lifted his riding whip savagely to slash him 
across the face. But Yi Poon did not quail. 

The Senorita Leoncia," he said quickly, and arrested the 
blow. " I have great secret." Torres waited, the whip still 
lifted as a threat. " You like 'm some other man marry that 
very nice Senorita Leoncia?" 

Torres dropped the whip to his side. 

11 Go on," he commanded harshly. " What is the secret?" 
You no want 'm other man marry that Senorita 
Leoncia?" 

14 Suppose I don't?" 

Then, suppose you have secret, you can stop other 
man." 

' Well, what is it? Spit it out." 

' But first," Yi Poon shook his head, " you pay me six 
hundred dollars gold. Then I tell you secret." 

" I'll pay you," Torres said readily, although without the 
slightest thought of keeping his word. ' You tell me first, 
then, if no lie, I'll pay you. See!" 

From his breast pocket he drew a wallet bulging with paper 
bills; and Yi Poon, uneasily acquiescing, led him down the 
road to the crone on the beach. 

' This old woman," he explained, " she no lie. She sick 
woman. Pretty soon she die. She is afraid. She talk to 
priest along Colon. Priest say she must tell secret, or die 
and go to hell. So she no lie." 

' Well, if she doesn't lie, what is it she must tell?" 
You* pay me?" 
Sure. Six hundred gold." 

Well, she born Cadiz in old country. She number one 
servant, number one baby nurse. One time she take job 
with English family that come traveling in her country. 
Long time she work with that family. She go back along Eng- 
land. Then, bime by you know Spanish blood very hot 

she get very mad. That family have one little baby girl. 
She steal little baby girl and run away to Panama. That 
little baby girl Senor Solano he adopt just the same his own 
daughter. He have plenty sons and no daughter, So that 



230 HEARTS OF THEEE 

little baby girl he make his daughter. But that old woman 
she no tell what name belong little girl's family. That 
family very high blood, very rich, everybody in England 
know that family. That family's name ' Morgan.' You 
know that name? In Colon comes San Antonio men who 
say Senor Solano's daughter marry English Gringo named 
Morgan. That Gringo Morgan the Senorita Leoncia's 
brother." 

" Ah!" said Torres with maleficent delight. 

' You pay me now six hundred gold," said Yi Poon. 

" Thank you for the fool you are," said Torres with untold 
mockery in his voice. ' You will learn better perhaps some 
day the business of selling secrets. Secrets are not shoes or 
mahogany timber. A secret told is no more than a whisper 
in the air. It comes. It goes. It is gone. It is a ghost. 
Who has seen it? You can claim back shoes or mahogany 
timber. You can never claim back a secret when you have 
told it." 

' We talk of ghosts, you and I," said Yi Poon calmly. 
" And the ghosts are gone. I have told you no secret. You 
have dreamed a dream. When you tell men they will ask 
you who told you. And you will say, ' Yi Poon.' But Yi 
Poon will say, ' No.' And they will say, ' Ghosts,' and 
laugh at you." 

Yi Poon, feeling the other yield to his superior subtlety of 
thought, deliberately paused. 

' We have talked whispers," he resumed after a few 
seconds. ' You speak true when you say whispers are 
ghosts. When I sell secrets I do not sell ghosts. I sell 
shoes. I sell mahogany timber. My proofs are what I sell. 
They are solid. On the scales they will weigh weight. You 
can tear the paper of them, which is legal paper of record, 
on which they are written. Some of them, not paper, you 
can bite with your teeth and break your teeth upon. For 
the whispers are already gone like morning mists. I have 
proofs. You will pay me six hundred gold for the proofs, or 
men will laugh at you for lending your ears to ghosts." 

" All right," Torres capitulated, convinced. " Show me 
the proofs that I caxi tear and bite." 

" Pay me the six hundred gold." 

" When you have shown me the proofs." 

" The proofs you can tear and bite are yours after you 
have put the six hundred gold into my hand. You promise. 
A promise is a whisper, a ghost. I do not do business with 
ghost money. You pay me real money I can tear or bite." 



HEARTS OF THREE 231 

And in the end Torres surrendered, paying in advance for 
what did satisfy him when he had examined the documents, 
the old letters, the baby locket and the baby trinkets. And 
Torres not only assured Yi Poon that he was satisfied, but 
paid him in advance, on the latter 's insistence, an additional 
hundred gold to execute a commission for him. 

Meanwhile, in the bathroom which connected their bed- 
rooms, clad in fresh undeiiinen and shaving with safety 
razors, Henry and Francis were singing : 

" Back to back against the mainmast, 
Held at bay the entire crew . . . ' 

In her charming quarters, aided and abetted by a couple 
of Indian seamstresses, Leoncia, half in mirth, half in sad- 
ness, and in all sweetness and wholesomeness of generosity, 
was initiating the Queen into the charmingness of civilized 
woman's dress. The Queen, a true woman to her heart's 
core, was wild with delight in the countless pretties of texture 
and adornment with which Leoncia 's wardrobe was stored. 
It was a maiden frolic for the pair of them, and a stitch here 
and a take-up there modified certain of Leoncia's gowns to 
the Queen's slenderness. 

No," said Leoncia judicially. ' You will not need a 
corset. You are the one woman in a hundred for whom a 
corset is not necessary. You have the roundest lines for a 
thin woman that I ever saw. You . . . ' Leoncia paused, 
apparently deflected by her need for a pin from her dressing 
table, for which she turned; but at the same time she swal- 
lowed the swelling that choked in her throat, so that she was 
able to continue: " You are a beautiful bride, and Francis 
can only grow prouder of you." 

In the bathroom, Francis, finished shaving first, broke off 
the song to respond to the knock at his bedroom door and 
received a telegram from Fernando, the next to the youngest 
of the Solano brothers. And Francis read : 

Important your immediate return. Need more mar- 
gins. While market very weak but a strong attack on 
all your stocks except Tampico Petroleum, which is 
strong as ever. Wire me when to expect you. Situation 
is serious. Think I can hold out if you start to return 
at once. Wire me at once. 

Bascom. 



232 HEARTS OF THREE 

In the living room the two Morgans found Enrico and his 
sons opening wine. 

' Having but had my daughter restored to me," Enrico 
said, " I now lose her again. But it is an easier loss, Henry. 
To-morrow shall be the wedding. It cannot take place too 
quickly. It is sure, right now, that that scoundrel Torres is 
whispering all over San Antonio Leoncia's latest unprotected 
escapade with you." 

Ere Henry could express his gratification, Leoncia and the 
Queen entered. He held up his glass and toasted : 
' To the bride!" 

Leoncia, not understanding, raised a glass from the table 
and glanced to the Queen. 

" No, no," Henry said, taking her glass with the intention 
of passing it to the Queen. 

' No, no," said Enrico. " Neither shall drink the toast 
which is incomplete. Let me make it: 

" To the brides!" 

You and Henry are to be married to-morrow," Alesandro 
explained to Leoncia. 

Unexpected and bitter though the news was, Leoncia con- 
trolled herself, and dared with assumed jollity to look Francis 
in the eyes while she cried: 

Another toast ! To the bridegrooms ! ' ' 

Difficult as Francis had found it to marry the Queen and 
maintain equanimity, he now found equanimity impossible 
at the announcement of the immediate marriage of Leoncia. 
Nor did Leoncia fail to observe how hard he struggled to 
control himself. His suffering gave her secret joy, and with 
a feeling almost of triumph she watched him take advantage 
of the first opportunity to leave the room. 

Showing them his telegram and assuring them that his 
fortune was at stake, he ! said he must get off an answer and 
asked Fernando to arrange for a rider to carry it to the 
government wireless at San Antonio. 

Nor was Leoncia long in following him. In the library she 
came upon him, seated at the reading table, his telegram 
unwritten, while his gaze was fixed upon a large photograph 
of her which he had taken from its place on top the low book- 
shelves. All of which was too much for her. Her involun- 
tary gasping sob brought him to his feet in time to catch her 
as she swayed into his arms. And before either knew it their 
lips were together in fervent expression. 



HEARTS OF THREE 233 

Leoncia struggled and tore herself away, gazing upon her 
lover with horror. 

Tiiis must stop, Francis!" she cried. " More: you 
cannot remain here for my wedding. If you do, I shall not 
be responsible for my actions. There is a steamer leaves San 
Antonio for Colon. You and your wife must sail on it. You 
can easily catch passage on the fruit boats to New r Orleans 
and take train to New York. I love you ! you know it." 

' The Queen and I are not married!" Francis pleaded, 
beside himself, overcome by what had taken place. " That 
heathen marriage before the Altar of the Sun was no mar- 
riage. In neither deed nor ceremony are we married. I 

assure you of that, Leoncia. It is not too late 

That heathen marriage has lasted you thus far," she 
interrupted him with quiet firmness. Let it last you to 
New York, or, at least, to ... Colon." 

4 ' The Queen will not have any further marriage after our 
forms," Francis said. " She insists that all her female line 
before her has been so married and that the Sun Altar cere- 
mony is sacredly binding." 

Leoncia shrugged her shoulders non-committally, although 
her face was stern with resolution. 

Marriage or no," she replied, " you must go to-night 
the pair of you. Else I shall go mad. I warn you : I shall 
not be able to withstand the presence of you. J cannot, 1 
know I cannot, be able to stand the sight of you while I am 
being married to Henry and after I am married to Henry. 
Oh, please, please, do not misunderstand me. I do love 
Henry, but not in the . . . not in that way . . . not in the 
way I love you. I and I am not ashamed of the boldness 
with which I say it I love Henry about as much as you love 
the Queen; but I love you as I should love Henry, as you 
should love the Queen, as I know you do love me." 

She caught his hand and pressed it against her heart. 
' There ! For the last time ! Now go ! " 

But his arms were around her, and she could not help but 
yield her lips. Again she tore herself away, this time fleeing 
to the doorway. Francis bowed his head to her decision, 
then picked up her picture. 

" I shall keep this," he announced. 

" You oughtn't to," she flashed a last fond smile at him. 
" You may," she added, as she turned and was gone. 

Yet Yi Poon had a commission to execute, for which Torres 



234 HEARTS OF THREE 

had paid him one hundred gold hi advance. Next morning, 
with Francis and the Queen hours departed on their way to 
Colon, Yi Poon arrived at the Solano hacienda. Enrico, 
smoking a cigar 011 the veranda and very much pleased with 
himself and all the world and the way the world was going, 
recognized and welcomed Yi Poon as his visitor of the day 
before. Even ere they talked, Leoncia's father had dis- 
patched Alesandro for the five hundred pesos agreed upon. 
And Yi Poon, whose profession was trafficking in secrets, 
was not averse to selling his secret the second time. Yet 
was he true to his salt, in so far as he obeyed Torres' instruc- 
tions in refusing to tell the secret save in the presence of 
Leoncia and Henry. 

' That secret has the string on it," Yi Poon apologized, 
after the couple had been summoned, as he began unwrap- 
ping the parcel of proofs. ' The Senorita Leoncia and the 
man she is going to marry must first, before anybody else, 
look at these things. Afterward, all can look." 

" Which is fair, since they are more interested than any 
of us," Enrico conceded grandly, although at the same time 
he betrayed his eagerness by the impatience with which ho 
motioned his daughter and Henry to take the evidence to one 
side for examination. 

He tried to appear uninterested, but his side-glances 
missed nothing of what they did. To his amazement, he 
saw Leoncia suddenly cast down a legal -appear ing document, 
which she and Henry had read through, and throw her arms, 
whole-heartedly and freely about his neck, and whole- 
heartedly and freely kiss him on the lips. Next, Enrico saw 
Henry step back and exclaim in a dazed, heart-broken way : 

" But, my God, Leoncia! This is the end of everything. 
Never can we be husband and wife!" 

" Eh?" Enrico snorted. " When everything was 
arranged! What do you mean, sir? This is an insult! 
Marry you shall, and marry to-day!" 

Henry, almost in stupefaction, looked to Leoncia to speak 
for him. 

" It is against God's law and man's," she said, " for a 
man to marry his sister. Now I understand my strange love 
for Henry. He is my brother. We are full brother and 
sister, unless these documents lie." 

And Yi Poon knew that he could take report to Torres that 
the marriage would not take place and would never take 
place. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

CATCHING a United Fruit Company boat at Colon within 
fifteen minutes after landing from the small coaster, the 
Queen's progress with Francis to New York had been a swift 
rush of fortunate connections. At New Orleans a taxi from 
the wharf to the station and a racing of porters with hand 
luggage had barely got them aboard the train just as it 
started. Arrived at New York, Francis had been met by 
Bascom, in Francis' private machine, and the rush had con- 
tinued to the rather ornate palace R.H.M. himself, Francis' 
father, had built out of his millions on Riverside Drive. 

So it was that the Queen knew scarcely more of the great 
world than when she first started her travels by leaping into 
the subterranean river. Had she been a lesser creature, she 
would have been stunned by this vast civilisation around her. 
As it was, she was royally inconsequential, accepting such 
civilization as an offering from her royal spouse. Royal he 
was, served by many slaves. Had she not, on steamer and 
train, observed it? And here, arrived at his palace, she took 
as a matter of course the showing of house servants that 
greeted them. The chauffeur opened the door of the limou- 
sine. Other servants carried in the hand baggage. Francis 
touched his hand to nothing, save to her arm to assist her to 
alight. Even Bascom a man she divined was no servitor 
she also divined as one who served Francis. And she could 
not but observe Bascom depart in Francis' limousine, under 
instruction and command of Francis. 

She had been a queen, in an isolated valley, over a handful 
of salvages. Yet here, in this mighty land of kings, her 
husband ruled kings. It was all very wonderful, and she 
was deliciously aware that her queenship had suffered no 
diminishing by her alliance with Francis. 

Her delight in the interior of the mansion was naive and 
childlike. Forgetting the servants, or, rather, ignoring them 
as she ignored her own attendants in her lake dwelling, she 

235 



236 HEARTS OF THREE 

clapped her hands in the great entrance hall, glanced at the 
marble stairway, tripped in a little run to the nearest apart- 
ment, and peeped in. It was the library, which she had 
visioned in the Mirror of the World the first day she saw 
Francis. And the vision realized itself, for Francis entered 
with her into the great room of books, his arm about her, 
just as she had seen him on the fluid-metal surface of the 
golden bowl. The telephones, and the stock-ticker, too, she 
remembered; and, just as she had foreseen herself do, she 
crossed over to the ticker curiously to examine, and Francis, 
his arm still about her, stood by her side. 

Hardly had he begun an attempted explanation of the 
instrument, and just as he realized the impossibility of 
teaching her in several minutes all the intricacies of the stock 
market institution, when his eyes noted on the tape that 
Frisco Consolidated was down twenty points a thing un- 
precedented in that little Iowa railroad which E.H.M. had 
financed and builded and to the day of his death maintained 
proudly as so legitimate a creation, that, though half the 
banks and all of Wall Street crashed, it would weather any 
storm. 

The Queen viewed with alarm the alarm that grew on 
Francis' face. 

It is magic liko my Mirror of the World?" she half- 
queried, half-stated. 

Francis nodded. 

It tells you secrets, I know," she continued. " Like my 
golden bowl, it brings all the world, here within this very 
room, .to you. It brings you trouble. That is very plain. 
But what trouble can this world bring you, who are one of its 
great kings?" 

He opened his mouth to reply to her last question, halted, 
and said nothing, realizing the impossibility of conveying 
comprehension to her, the while, under his eyelids, or at the 
foreground of his brain, burned pictures of great railroad and 
steamship lines, of teeming terminals and noisy docks; of 
miners toiling in Alaska, in Montana, in Death Valley; of 
bridled rivers, and harnessed waterfalls, and of j>ower-lines 
stilting across lowlands and swamps and marshes on two- 
hundred-foot towers ; and of all the mechanics and economics 
and finances of the twentieth century machine-civilization. 

It brings you trouble," she repeated. " And, alas! I 
cannot help you. My golden bowl is no more. Never again 
shall I see the world in it. I am no longer a ruler of the 



HEARTS OF THREE 237 

future. I am a woman merely, and helpless in this strange, 
colossal world to which you have brought me. I am a woman 
merely, and your wife, Francis, your proud wife." 

Almost did he love her, as, dropping the tape, he pressed 
her closely for a moment ere going over to the battery of 
telephones. She is delightful, was his thought. There is 
neither guile nor malice in her, only woman, all woman, 

lovely and lovable alas, that Leoncia should ever and 

always arise in my thought between her whom I have and 
herself whom I shall never have ! 

" More magic," the Queen murmured, as Francis, getting 
Bascom's office, said: 

" Mr. Bascom will undoubtedly arrive back in half an hour. 

This is Morgan talking Francis Morgan. Mr. Bascom left 

for his office not five minutes ago. When he arrives, tell him 
that I have started for his office and shall not be more than 
five minutes behind him. This is important. Tell him I am 
on the way. Thank you. Good bye." 

Very naturally, with all the wonders of the great house yet 
to be shown her, the Queen betrayed her disappointment 
when Francis told her he must immediately depart for a 
place called Wall Street. 

What is it," she asked, with a pout of displeasure, " that 
drags you away from me like a slave?" 

' It is business and very important," he told her with 

a smile and a kiss. 

11 And what is Business that it should have power over 
you who are a king ? Is business the name of your god whom 
all of you worship as the Sun God is worshipped by my 
people?" 

He smiled at the almost perfect appositeness of her idea, 
saying: 

It is the great American god. Also, is it a very terrible 
god, and when it slays it slays terribly and swiftly." 

" And you have incurred its displeasure?" she queried. 

11 Alas, yes, though I know not how. I must go to Wall 

Street " 

Which is its altar?" she broke in to ask. 
Which is its altar," he answered, " and where I must 
find out wherein I have offended and wherein I may placate 
and make amends." 

His hurried attempt to explain to her the virtues and 
functions of the maid he had wired for from Colon, scarcely 
interested her, and she broke him off by saying that evidently 



238 HEARTS OF THREE 

the maid was similar to the Indian women who had attended 
her in the Valley of Lost Souls, and that she had been 
accustomed to personal service ever since she was a little girl 
learning English and Spanish from her mother in the house 
on the lake. 

But when Francis caught up his hat and kissed her, she 
relented and wished him luck before the altar. 

After several hours of amazing adventures in her own 
quarters, where the maid, a Spanish -speaking Frenchwoman, 
acted as guide and mentor, and after being variously mea- 
sured and gloated over by a gorgeous woman who seemed 
herself a queen and who was attended by two young women, 
and who, in the Queen's mind, was without doubt summoned 
to serve her and Francis, she came back down the grand 
stairway to investigate the library with its mysterious tele- 
phones and ticker. 

Long she gazed at the ticker and listened to its irregular 
chatter. But she, who could read and write English and 
Spanish, could make nothing of the strange hieroglyphics 
that grew miraculously on the tape. Next, she explored the 
first of the telephones. Eemembering how Francis had 
listened, she put her ear to the transmitter. Then, recollect- 
ing his use of the receiver, she took it off its hook and placed 
it to her ear. The voice, unmistakably a woman's, sounded 
so near to her that in her startled surprise she dropped the 
receiver and recoiled. At this moment, Parker, Francis' old 
valet, chanced to enter the room. She had not observed 
him before, and, so immaculate was his dress, so dignified 
his carriage, that she mistook him for a friend of Francis 

rather than a servitor a friend similar to Bascom who had 

met them at the station with Francis' machine, ridden inside 
with them as an equal, yet departed with Francis' commands 
in his ears which it was patent he was to obey. 

At sight of Parker's solemn face she laughed with em- 
barrassment and pointed inquiringly to the telephone. 
Solemnly he picked up the receiver, murmured " A mis- 
take," into the transmitter, and hung up. In those several 
seconds the Queen's thought underwent revolution. No 
god's nor spirit's voice had been that which she had heard, 
but a woman's voice. 

" Where is that woman?" she demanded. 

Parker merely stiffened up more stiffly, assumed a 
solemner expression, and bowed. 

" There is a woman concealed in the house," she charged 



HEARTS OF THREE 239 

with quick words. " Her voice speaks there in that thing. 
She must be in the next room " 

" It was Central," Parker attempted to stem the flood of 
her utterance. 

" I care not what her name is," the Queen dashed on. 
" I shall have no other woman but myself in my house. Bid 
her begone. I am very angry." 

Parker was even stiffer and solemner, and a new mood 
came over her. Perhaps this dignified gentleman was higher 
than she had suspected in the hierarchy of the lesser kings, 
she thought. Almost might he be an equal king with Francis, 
and she had treated him peremptorily as less, as much less. 

She caught him by the hand, in her impetuousness noting 
his reluctance, drew him over to a sofa, and made him sit 
beside her. To add to Parker's discomfiture, she dipped 
into a box of candy and began to feed him chocolates, 
closing his mouth with the sweets every time he opened it 
to protest. 

" Come," she said, when she had almost choked him, " is 
it the custom of the men of this country to be polygamous?" 

Parker was aghast at such rawness of frankness. 

" Oh, I know the meaning of the word," she assured him. 
14 So I repeat: is it the custom of the men of this country 
to be polygamous?" 

4 There is no woman in this house, besides yourself, 
madam, except servant women," he managed to enunciate. 
' That voice you heard is not the voice of a woman in this 
house, but the voice of a woman miles away who is your 
servant, or ig anybody's servant who desires to talk over the 
telephone." 

She is the slave of the mystery?" the Queen questioned, 
beginning to get a dim glimmer of the actuality of the 
matter. 

' Yes," her husband's valet admitted. " She is a slave 
of the telephone." 

Of the flying speech?" 

Yes, madam, call it that, of the flying speech." He 
was desperate to escape from a situation unprecedented in 
his entire career. " Come, I will show you, madam. This 
slave of the flying speech is yours to command both by night 
and day. If you wish, the slave will enable you to talk with 
your husband, Mr. Morgan " 

" Now?" 

Parker nodded, arose, and led her to the telephone. 



240 HEARTS OF THREE 

" First of all," he instructed, " you will speak to the 
slave. The instant you take this down and put it to your 
ear, the slave will respond. It is the slave's invariable way 
of saying ' Number?' Sometimes she says it, ' Number? 
Number?' And sometimes she is very irritable. 

" When the slave has said ' Number,' then do you say 
' Eddystone 1292,' whereupon the slave will say ' Eddy- 
stone 1292?' and then you will say, ' Yes, please ' 

" To a slave I shall say ' please '?" she interrupted. 

" Yes, madam, for these slaves of the flying speech are 
peculiar slaves that one never sees. I am not a young man, 
yet I have never seen a Central in all my life. Thus, next, 
after a moment, another slave, a woman, who is miles away 
from the first one, will say to you, ' This is Eddystone 1292,' 
and you will say, ' I am Mrs. Morgan. I wish to speak with 
Mr. Morgan, who is, I think, in Mr. Bascom's private 
office.' And then you wait, maybe for half a minute, or for 
a minute, and then Mr. Morgan will begin to talk to you." 

" From miles and miles away?" 

' Yes, madam just as if he were in the next room. 

And when Mr. Morgan says ' Goodbye,' you will say ' Good- 
bye,' and hang up-as you have seen me do." 

And all that Parker had told her came to pass as she 
carried out his instructions. The two different slaves obeyed 
the magic of the number she gave them, and Francis talked 
and laughed with her, begged her not to be lonely, and pro- 
mised to be home not later than five that afternoon. 



Meanwhile, and throughout the day, Francis was a very 
busy and perturbed man. 

' What secret enemy have you?" Bascom again and 
again demanded, while Francis shook his head in futility of 
conjecture. 

For see, except where your holdings are concerned, the 
market is reasonable and right. But take your holdings. 
There's Frisco Consolidated. There is neither sense nor logic 
that it should be beared this way. Only your holdings are 
being beared. New York, Vermont and Connecticut, paid 
fifteen per cent, the last four quarters and is as solid as 
Gibraltar. Yet it's down, and down hard. The same with 
Montana Lode, Death Valley Copper, Imperial Tungsten, 

Northwestern Electric. Take Alaska Trodwell as solid 

as the everlasting rock. The movement against it started 



HEARTS OF THREE 241 

only yesterday late. It closed eight points down, and to-day 
has slumped twice as much more. Every one, stock in 
which you are heavily interested. And no other stocks in- 
volved. The rest of the market is firm." 

"So is Tampico Petroleum firm," Francis said, " and 
I'm interested in it heaviest of all." 

Bascom shrugged his shoulders despairingly. 

' ' Are you sure you cannot think of somebody who is doing 
this and who may be your enemy?" 

" Not for the life of me, Bascom. Can't think of a soul. 
I haven't made any enemies, because, since my father died, 
I have not been active. Tampico Petroleum is the only 
thing I ever got busy with, and even now it's all right." He 
strolled over to the ticker. ' There. Half a point up for 
five hundred shares." 

" Just the same, somebody's after you," Bascom assured 
him. ' The thing is clear as the sun at midday. I have 
been going over the reports of the different stocks at issue. 
They are colored, artfully and delicately colored, and the 
coloring matter is pessimistic and official. Why did North- 
western Electric pass its dividend? Why did they put that 
black-eye stuff into Mulhaney's report on Montana Lode? 
Oh, never mind the rest of the black-eying, but why all this 
activity of unloading? It's clear. There's a raid on, and it 
seems on you, and it's not a sudden rush raid. It's been 
slowly and steadily growing. And it's ripe to break at the 

first rumor of war, at a big strike, or a financial panic 

at anything that will bear the entire market. 

" Look at the situation you're in now, when all holdings 
except your own are normal. I've covered your margins, 
and covered them. A grave proportion of your straight col- 
lateral is already up. And your margins keep on shrinking. 
You can scarcely throw them overboard. It might start a 
break. It's too ticklish." 

There's Tampico Petroleum, smiling as pretty as you 

please it's collateral enough to cover everything," Francis 

suggested. ' Though I've been chary of touching it," he 
amended. 

Bascom shook his head. 

There's the Mexican revolution, and our own spineless 
administration. If we involved Tampico Petroleum, and 
anything serious should break down there, you'd be finished, 
cleaned out, broke. 

" And yet," Bascom resumed, " I see no other way out 



242 HEAETS OF THREE 

than to use Tampico Petroleum. You see, I have 
almost exhausted what you have placed in my hands. And 
this is no whirlwind raid. It's slow and steady as an 
advancing glacier. I've only handled the market for you 
all these years, and this is the first tight place we've got 
into. Now your general business affairs? Collins has the 
handling and knows. You must know. What securities can 
you let me have ? Now ? And to-morrow ? And next week ? 
And the next three weeks?" 

" How much do you want?" Francis questioned back. 

" A million before closing time to-day." Bascom pointed 
eloquently at the ticker. " At least twenty million more in 

the next three weeks, if and mark you that if well if 

the world remains at peace, and if the general market re- 
mains as normal as it has been for the past six months." 

Francis stood up with decision and reached for his hat. 

"I'm going to Collins at once. He knows far more about 
my outside business than I know myself. I shall have at 
least the million in your hands before closing time, and I've 
a shrewd suspicion that I'll cover the rest during the next 
several weeks." 

Remember," Bascom warned him, as they shook hands, 

it's the very slowness of this raid that is ominous. It's 
directed against you, and it's no fly-by-night affair. Who- 
ever is making it, is doing it big, and must be big." 



Several times, late that afternoon and evening, the Queen 
was called up by the slave of the flying speech and enabled 
to talk with her husband. To her delight, in her own room, 
by her bedside, she found a telephone, through which, by 
calling up Collins' office, she gave her good night to Francis. 
Also, she essayed to kiss her heart to him, and received back, 
queer and vague of sound, his answering kiss. 

She knew not how long she had slept, when she awoke. 
Not moving, through her half-open eyes she saw Francis 
peer into the room and across to her. When he had gone 
softly away, she leapt out of bed and ran to the door in time 
to see him start down the staircase. 

More trouble with the great god Business was her 

surmise. He was going down to that wonderful room, the 
library, to read more of the dread god's threats and warn- 
ings that were so mysteriously made to take form of written 
speech to the clicking of the ticker. She looked at herself 



HEARTS OF THREE 243 

in the mirror, adjusted her hair, and with a little love-smile 

of anticipation on her lips put on a dressing-gown another 

of the marvelous pretties of Francis' forethought and pro- 
viding. 

At the entrance of the library she paused, hearing the 
voice of another than Francis. At first thought she decided 
it was the flying speech, but immediately afterward she knew 
it to be too loud and near and different. Peeping in, she 
saw two men drawn up in big leather chairs near to each 
other and facing. Francis, tired of face from the day's 
exertions, still wore his business suit; but the other was clad 
in evening dress. And she heard him call her husband 
" Francis," who, in turn, called him " Johnny." That, 
and the familiarity of their conversation, conveyed to her 
that they were old, close friends. 

" And don't tell me, Francis," the other was saying, 
" that you've frivoled through Panama all this while without 
losing your heart to the senoritas a dozen times." 

" Only once," Francis replied, after a pause, in which the 
Queen noted that he gazed steadily at his friend. 

Further," he went on, after another pause, " I really 

lost my heart but not my head. Johnny Pathmore, O 

Johnny Pathmore, you are a mere flirtatious brute, but I 
tell you that you've lots to learn. I tell you that in Panama 

I found the most wonderful woman in the world a woman 

that I was glad I had lived to know, a woman that I would 
gladly die for; a woman of fire, of passion, of sweetness, of 
nobility, a very queen of women." 

And the Queen, listening and looking upon the intense 
exaltation of his face, smiled with proud fondness and certi- 
tude to herself, for had she not won a husband who re- 
mained a lover? 

11 And did the lady, er ah did she reciprocate?" 

Johnny Pathmore ventured. 

The Queen saw Francis nod as he solemnly replied. 

' She loves me as I love her this I know in all 

absoluteness." He stood up suddenly. " Wait. I will 
show her to you." 

And as he started toward the door, the Queen, in roguish- 
ness of a very extreme of happiness at her husband's con- 
fession she had overheard, fled trippingly to hide in the wide 
doorway of a grand room which the maid had informed her 
was the drawing room, whatever such room might be. De- 
Hciously imagining Francis' surprise at not finding tier in 



244 HEARTS OF THREE 

bed, she watched him go up the wide marble staircase. In 
a few moments^ he descended. With a slight chill at the 
heart she observed that he betrayed no perturbation at not 
having found her. In his hand he carried a scroll or roll 
of thin, white cardboard. Looking neither to right nor left, 
he re-entered the library. 

Peeping in, she saw him unroll the scroll, present it before 
Johnny Pathmore's eyes, and heard him say: 
Judge for yourself. There she is." 
But why be so funereal about it, old man?" Johnny 
Pathmore queried, after a prolonged examination of the 
photograph. 

Because we met too late. I was compelled to marry 
another. And I left her forever just a few hours before she 
was to marry another, which marriage had been compelled 
before either of us ever knew the other existed. And the 
woman I married, please know, is a good and splendid 
woman. She will have my devotion forever. Unfortunately, 
she will never posses my heart." 

In a great instant of revulsion, the entire truth came to 
the Queen. Clutching at her heart with clasped hands, she 
nearly fainted of the vertigo that assailed her. Although 
they still talked inside the library, she heard no further word 
of their utterance as she strove with slow success to draw 
herself together. Finally, with indrawn shoulders, a little 
forlorn sort of a ghost of the resplendent woman and wife 
she had been but minutes before, she staggered across the 
hall and slowly, as if in a nightmare wherein speed never 
resides, dragged herself upstairs. In her room, she lost all 
control. Francis' ring was torn from her finger and stamped 
upon. Her boudoir cap and her turtle-shell hairpins joined 
the general havoc under her feet. Convulsed, shuddering, 
muttering to herself in her extremity, she threw herself upon 
her bed and only managed, in an ecstasy of anguish, to re- 
main perfectly quiet when Francis peeped in on his way to 
bed. 

An hour, that seemed a thousand centuries, she gave him 
to go to sleep. Then she arose, took in hand the crude 
jeweled dagger which had been hers in the Valley of the Lost 
Souls, and softly tiptoed into his room. There on the 
dresser it was, the large photograph of Leoncia. In thorough 
indecision, clutching the dagger until the cramp of her palm 
and fingers hurt her, she debated between her husband and 
Leoncia. Once, beside his bed, her hand raised to strike, an 



HEARTS OF THREE 245 

effusion of tears into her dry eyes obscured her seeing so that 
her dagger-hand dropped as she sobbed audibly. 

Stiffening herself with changed resolve, she crossed over 
to the dresser. A pad and pencil lying handy, caught her 
attention. She scribbled two words, tore off the sheet, and 
placed it upon the face of Leoncia as it lay flat and upturned 
on the surface of polished wood. Next, with an unerring 
drive of the dagger, she pinned the note between the pictured 
semblance of Leoncia 's eyes, so that the point of the blade 
penetrated the wood and left the haft quivering and upright. 



CHAPTER XXV 

MEANWHILE, after the manner of cross purposes in New York, 
wherein Began craftily proceeded with his gigantic raid on 
all Francis' holdings while Francis and Bascom vainly strove 
to find his identity, so in Panama were at work cross pur- 
poses which involved Leoncia and the Solanos, Torres and 
the Jefe, and, not least in importance, one, Yi Poon, the 
rotund and moon-faced Chinese. 

The little old judge, who was the Jefe's creature, sat 
asleep in court in San Antonio. He had slept placidly for 
two hours, occasionally nodding his head and muttering pro- 
foundly, although the case was a grave one, involving twenty 
years in San Juan, where the strongest could not survive 
ten years. But there was no need for the judge to consider 
evidence or argument. Before the case was called, deci- 
sion and sentence were in his mind, having been put there 
by the Jefe. The prisoner's lawyer ceased his perfunctory 
argument, the clerk of the court sneezed, and the judge 
woke up. He looked about him briskly and said : 
"Guilty." 
No one was surprised, not even the prisoner. 

" Appear to-morrow morning for sentence. Next 

case." 

Having so ordered, the judge prepared to settle down into 
another nap, when he saw Torres and the Jefe enter the 
courtroom. A gleam in the Jefe's eye was his cue, and he 
abruptly dismissed court for the day. 

" I have been to Rodriguez Fernandez," the Jefe was ex- 
plaining five minutes later, in the empty courtroom. " He 
says it was a natural gem, and that much would be lost in 
the cutting, but that nevertheless he would still give five 

hundred gold for it. Show it to the judge, Senor Torres, 

and the rest of the handful of big ones." 

And Torres began to lie. He had to lie, because he could 
not confess the shame of having had the gems taken away 

246 



HEARTS OF THREE 247 

from him by the Solanos and the Morgans when they threw 
him out of the hacienda. And so convincingly did he lie 
that even the Jefe he convinced, while the judge, except 
in the matter of brands of strong liquor, accepted every- 
thing the Jefe wanted him to believe. In brief, shorn of 
the multitude of details that Torres threw in, his tale was 
that he was so certain of the jeweler's under-appraisal that 
he had despatched the gems by special messenger to his 
agent in Colon with instructions to forward to New York to 
Tiffany's for appraisement that might lead to sale. 

As they emerged from the courtroom and descended the 
several steps that were flanked by single adobe pillars marred 
by bullet scars from previous revolutions, the Jefe was 
saying : 

" And so, needing the aegis of the law for our adventure 
after these geins, and, more than that, both of us loving 
our good friend the judge, we will let him in for a modest 
share of whatever we shall gain. He shall represent us in 
San Antonio while we are gone, and, if needs be, furnish 
us with the law's protection." 

Now it happened that behind one of the pillars, hat pulled 
over his face, Yi Poon half -sat, half -reclined. Nor was he 
there by mere accident. Long ago he had learned that 
secrets of value, which always connoted the troubles of 
humans, were markedly prevalent around courtrooms, 
which were the focal points for the airing of such troubles 
when they became acute. One could never tell. At any 
moment a secret might leap at one or brim over to one. 
Therefore it was like a fisherman casting his line into the 
sea for Yi Poon to watch the defendant and the plaintiff, 
the witnesses for and against, and even the court hanger- 
on or casual -seoming onlooker. 

So, on this morning, the one person of promise that Yi 
Poon had picked out was a ragged old peon who looked as 
if he had been drinking too much and yet would perish 
in his condition of reaction if he did not get another drink 
very immediately. Bleary-eyed he was, and red-lidded, 
with desperate resolve painted on all his haggard, withered 
lineaments. When the court-room had emptied, he had 
taken up his stand. outside on the steps close to a pillar. 

And why? Yi Poon had asked himself. Inside remained 

only the three chief men of San Antonio the Jefe, Torres, 

and the judge. What connection between them, or any 
of them, and the drink-sodden creature that shook as if 



248 HEAETS OF THREE 

freezing in the scorching blaze of the direct sun-rays? Yi 
Poon did not know, but he did know that it was worth while 
waiting on a chance, no matter how remote, of finding out. 
So, behind the pillar, where no atom of shade protected 
him from the cooking sun which he detested, he lolled on 
the steps with all the impersonation of one placidly in- 
fatuated with sun-baths. The old peon tottered a step, 
swayed as if about to fall, yet managed to deflect Torres 
from his companions, who paused to wait for him on the 
pavement a dozen paces on, restless and hot-footed as if 
they stood on a grid, though deep in earnest conversation. 
And Yi Poon missed no word nor gesture, nor glint of eye 
nor shifting face-line, of the dialogue that took place be- 
tween the grand Torres and the wreck of a peon. 
' What now?" Torres demanded harshly. 

" Money, a little money, for the love of God, senor, a 
little money," the ancient peon whined. 

' You have had your money," Torres snarled. ' When 
I went away I gave you double the amount to last you twice 
as long. Not for two weeks yet is there a centavo due you." 

" I am in debt," was the old man's whimper, the while 
all the flesh of him quivered and trembled from the nerve- 
ravishment of the drink so palpably recently consumed. 

" On the pulque slate at Peter and Paul's," Torres, with 
a sneer, diagnosed unerringly. 

" On the pulque slate at Peter and Paul's," was the 
frank acknowledgment. " And the slate is full. No more 
pulque can I get credit for. I am wretched and suffer a 
thousand torments without my pulque. ' ' 

" You are a pig creature without reason!" 

A strange dignity, as of wisdom beyond wisdom, seemed 
suddenly to animate the old wreck as he straightened up, for 
the nonce ceased from trembling, and gravely said : 

" I am old. There is no vigor left in the veins or the 
heart of me. The desires of my youth are gone. Not even 
may I labor with this broken body of mine, though well I 
know that labor is an easement and a forgetting. Not even 
may I labor and forget. Food is a distaste in my mouth 
and a pain in my belly. Women they are a pest that it 
is a vexation to remember ever having desired. Children 
I buried my last a dozen years gone. Religion it frightens 
me. Death I sleep with the terror of it. Pulque ah, 
dear God ! the one tickle and taste of living left to me ! 

" What if I drink over much? It is because I have much 



HEARTS OF THREE 249 

to forget, and have but a little space yet to linger in the 
sun,, ere the Darkness, for my old eyes, blots out the sun 
forever." 

Impervious to the old man's philosophy, Torres made an 
impatient threat of movement that he was going. 

11 A few pesos, just ' a handful of pesos," the old peon 
pleaded. 

" Not a centavo," Torres said with finality. 

' Very well," said the old man with equal finality. 

' What do you mean?" Torres rasped with swift suspi- 
cion. 

" Have you forgotten?" was the retort, with such em- 
phasis of significance as to make Yi Poon wonder for what 
reason Torres gave the peon what seemed a pension or an 
allowance. 

" I pay you, according to agreement, to forget," said. 
Torres. 

' ' I shall never forget that my old eyes saw you stab the 
Senor Alfaro Solano in the back," the peon replied. 

Although he remained hidden and motionless in his 
posture of repose behind the pillar, Yi Poon metaphorically 
sat up. The Solanos were persons of place and wealth. That 
Torres should have murdered one of them was indeed a 
secret of price. 

' ' Beast ! Pig without reason ! Animal of the dirt ! ' 
Torres' hands clenched in his rage. " Because I am kind 
do you treat me thus ! One blabbing of your tongue and I 
will send you to San Juan. You know what that means. 
Not only will you sleep with the terror of death, but never 
for a moment of waking will you be free of the terror of 
living as you stare upon the buzzards that will surely and 
shortly pick your bones. And there will be no pulque in 
San Juan. There is never any pulque in San Juan for the 
men I send there. So? Eh? I thought so. You will wait 
two weeks for the proper time when I shall again give you 
money. If you do not wait, then never, this side of your 
interment in the bellies of buzzards, will you drink pulque 
again." 

Torres whirled on his heel and was gone. Yi Poon watched 
him and his two companions go down the street, then 
rounded the pillar to find the old peon sunk down in collapse 
at his disappointment of not getting any pulque, groaning 
and moaning and making sharp little yelping cries, his body 
quivering as dying animals quiver in the final throes, his 



250 HEARTS OF THREE 

fingers picking at his flesh and garments as if picking off 
centipedes. Down beside him sat Yi Poon, who began a 
remarkable performance of his own. Drawing gold coins 
and silver ones from his pockets he began to count over 
his money with chink and clink that was mellow and liquid 
and that to the distraught peon's ear was as the sound of 
the rippling and riffling of fountains of pulque 

' We are wise," Yi Poon told him in grandiloquent 
Spanish, still clinking the money, while the peon whined 
and yammered for the few centavos necessary for one drink 
of pulque. ' We are wise, you and I, old man, and we 
will sit here and tell each other what we know about men 
and women, and life and love, and anger and sudden death, 
the rage red in the heart and the steel bitter cold in the 
back; and if you tell me what pleases me, then shall you 
drink pulque till your ears run cut with it, and your eyes 
are drowned in it. You like that pulque, eh? You like one 
drink now, now, soon, very quick?" 



The night, while the Jefe Politico and Torres organized 
their expedition under cover of the dark, was destined to 
be a momentous one in the Solano hacienda. Things began 
to happen early. Dinner over, drinking their coffee and 
smoking their cigarettes, the family, of which Henry was 
accounted one by virtue of his brotherhood to Leoncia, sat 
on the wide front veranda. Through the moonlight, up the 
steps, they saw a strange figure approach. 

" It is like a ghost," said Alvarado Solano. 

" A fat ghost," Martinez, his twin brother, amended. 

" A Chink ghost you couldn't poke your finger through,'' 
Bicardo laughed. 

" The very Chink who saved Leoncia and me from 
marrying," said Henry Morgan, with recognition. 

" The seller of secrets," Leoncia gurgled. " And if he 
hasn't brought a new secret, I shall be disappointed." 

" What do you want, Chinaman?" Alesandro, the eldest 
of the Solano brothers, demanded sharply. 

" Nice new secret, very nice new secret maybe you buy," 
Yi Poon murmured proudly. 

" Your secrets are too' expensive, Chinaman," said Enrico 
discouragingly. 

" This nice new secret very expensive," Yi Poon assured 
i -i ji 

mm complacentJy. 




HEARTS OF THREE 251 

" Go away," old Enrico ordered. " I shall live a long 
time, yet to the day of my death I care to hear no more 
secrets." 

But Yi Poon was suavely certain of himself. 

" One time you have very fine brother," he said. " One 
time your very fine brother, the Senor Alfaro Solano, die 
with knife in his back. Very well. Some secret, eh?" 

But Enrico was on his feet quivering. 

' You know?" he almost screamed his eager interrogation. 

" How much?" said Yi Poon. 

" All I possess!" Enrico cried, ere turning to Alesandro 
to add : " You deal with him, son. Pay him well if he can 
prove by witness of the eye." 

'You bet," quoth Yi Poon. " I got witness. He got 
good eye-sight. He see man stick knife in the Senor Alfaro 's 
back in the dark. His name ..." 

' Yes, yes," Enrico breathed his suspense. 

" One thousand dollars his name," said Yi Poon, hesita- 
ting to make up his mind to what kind of dollars he could 
dare to claim. " One thousand dollars gold," he concluded. 

Enrico forgot that he had deputed the transaction to his 
eldest son. 

' Where is your witness?" he shouted. 

And Yi Poon, calling softly down the steps into the shrub- 
bery, evoked the pulque-ravaged peon, a real-looking ghost 
who slowly advanced and tottered up the steps. 



At the same time, on the edge of town, twenty mounted 
men, among whom were the gendarmes Bafael, Ignacio, 
Augustino, and Vicente, herded a pack train of more than 
twenty mules and waited the command of the Jefe to 
depart on they knew not what mysterious adventure into 
the Cordilleras. What they did know was that, herded care- 
fully apart from all other animals, was a strapping big mule 
loaded with tw r o hundred and fifty pounds of dynamite. 
Also, they knew that the delay was due to the Senor Torres, 
who had ridden away along the beach with the dreaded 
Caroo murderer, Jose" Mancheno, who, only by the grace of 
God and of the Jefe Politico, had been kept for years from 
expiating on the scaffold his various offenses against life and 
law. 

And, while Torres waited on the beach and held the 
Caroo's horse and an extra horse, the Caroo ascended on 



252 HEARTS OF THEEE 

foot the winding road that led to the hacienda of the Solanos. 
Little did Torres guess that twenty feet away, in the jungle 
that encroached on the beach, lay a placid-sleeping, pulque- 
drunken, old peon, with, crouching beside him, a very alert 
and very sober Chinese with a recently acquired thousand 
dollars stowed under his belt. Yi Poon had had barely time 
to drag the peon into hiding when Torres rode along in the 
sand and stopped almost beside him. 

Up at the hacienda, all members of the household were 
going to bed. Leoncia, just starting to let down her hair, 
stopped when she heard the rattle of tiny pebbles against 
her windows. Warning her in low. whispers to make no noise, 
Jose" Mancheno handed her a crumpled note which Torres 
had written, saying mysteriously : 

" From a strange Chinaman who waits not a hundred 
feet away on the edge of the shrubbery." 

And Leoncia read, in execrable Spanish : 

"First time, I tell you secret about Henry Morgan. 
This time I have secret about Francis. You come along 
and talk with me now." 

Leoncia 's heart leaped at mention of Francis, and 
as she slipped on a mantle and accompanied the Caroo it 
never entered her head to doubt that Yi Poon was waiting 
for her. 

And Yi Poon, down on the beach and spying upon Torres, 
had no doubts when he saw the Caroo murderer appear 
with the Solano senorita, bound and gagged, slung across 
his shoulder like a sack of meal. Nor did Yi Poon have any 
doubts about his next action, when he saw Leoncia tied 
into the saddle of the spare horse and taken away down 
the beach at a gallop, with Torres and the Caroo riding on 
either side of her. Leaving the pulque-sodden peon to sleep, 
the fat Chinaman took the road up the hill at so stiff a 
pace that he arrived breathless at the hacienda. Not con- 
tent with knocking at the door, he beat upon it with his 
fists and feet and prayed to his Chinese gods that no peevish 
Solano should take a shot at him before he could explain 
the urgency of his errand. 

" O go to hell," Alesandro said, when he had opened the 
door and flashed a light on the face of the importunate caller. 

" I have big secret," Yi Poon panted. " Very big brand 
new secret." 



HEARTS OF THREE 253 

" Come around to-morrow in business hours," Alesandro 
growled as he prepared to kick the Chinaman off the pre- 
mises. 

"I don't sell secret," Yi Poon stammered and 
gasped. " I make you present. I give secret now. The 
Senorita, your sister, she is stolen. She is tied upon a horse 
that runs fast down the beach." 

But Alesandro, who had said good night to Leoncia, not 
half an hour before, laughed loudly his unbelief, and pre- 
pared again to boot off the trafficker in secrets. Yi Poon 
was desperate. He drew forth the thousand dollars and 
placed it in Alesandro's hand, saying: 

' You go look quick. If the Senorita stop in this house 
now, you keep all that money. If the Senorita no stop, 
then you give money back. ..." 

And Alesandro was convinced. A minute later he was 
rousing the house. Five minutes later the horse-peons, their 
eyes hardly open from sound sleep, were roping and saddling 
horses and pack-mules in the corrals, while the Solano tribe 
was pulling on riding gear and equipping itself with weapons. 



Up and down the coast, and on the various paths leading 
back to the Cordilleras, the Solanos scattered, questing 
blindly in the blind dark for the trail of the abductors. As 
chance would have it, thirty hours afterward, Henry alone 
caught the scent and followed it, so that, camped in the 
very Footstep of God where first the old Maya priest had 
sighted the eyes of Chia, he found the entire party of twenty 
men and Leoncia cooking and eating breakfast. Twenty to 
one, never fair and always impossible, did not appeal to 
Henry Morgan's Anglo-Saxon mind. What did appeal to 
him was the dynamite-loaded mule, tethered apart from the 
off-saddl-ed forty-odd animals and left to stand by the care- 
less peons with its load still on its back. Instead of 
attempting the patently impossible rescue of Leoncia, and 
recognising that in numbers her woman's safety lay^ he stole 
the dynamite -mule. 

Not far did he take it. In the shelter of the low woods, 
he opened the pack and filled all his pockets with sticks of 
dynamite, a box of detonators, and a short coil of fuse. 
With a regretful look at the rest of the dynamite which he 
would have liked to explode but dared not, he busied him- 
self along the line of retreat he would have to take if he 



254 HEARTS OF THREE 

succeeded in stealing Leoncia from her captors. As Francis, 
on a previous occasion at Juchitan, had sown the retreat 
with silver dollars, so, this time, did Henry sow the retreat 

with dynamite the sticks in small bundles and the fuses, 

no longer than the length of a detonator, and with detona- 
tors fast to each end. 



Three hours Henry devoted to lurking around the camp 
in the Footstep of God, ere he got his opportunity to signal 
his presence to Leoncia; and another precious two hours 
were wasted ere she found her opportunity to steal away 
to him. Which would not have been so bad, had not 
her escape almost immediately been discovered and had not 
the gendarmes and the rest of Torres' party, mounted, been 
able swiftly to overtake them on foot. 

When Henry drew Leoncia down to hide beside him in 
the shelter of a rock, and at the same time brought his 
rifle into action ready for play, she protested. 

' We haven't a chance, Henry," she said. " They are 
too* many. If you fight you will be killed. And then what 
will become of me ? Better that you make your own escape, 
and bring help, leaving me to be retaken, than that you 
die and let me be retaken anyway." 

But he shook his head. 

' We are not going to be taken, dearest sister. Put your 
trust in me and watch. Here they come now. You just 
watch." 

Variously mounted, on horses and pack mules which- 
ever had come handiest in their haste Torres, the Jefe, 
and their men clattered into sight. Henry drew a sight, 
not on them, but on the point somewhat nearer where he 
had made his first plant of dynamite. When he pulled 
trigger, the intervening distance rose up in a cloud of smoke 
and earth dust that obscured them. As the cloud slowly dis- 
sipated, they could be seen, half of them, animals and men, 
overthrown, and all of them dazed and shocked by the ex- 
plosion. 

Henry seized Leoncia 's hand, jerked her to her feet, 
and ran on side by side with her. Conveniently beyond his 
second planting, he drew her down beside him to rest and 
catch breath. 

" They won't come on so fast this time," he hissed 



HEAETS OF THREE 255 

exultantly. ' ' And the longer they pursue us the slower 
they'll come on." 

True to his forecast, when the pursuit appeared, it moved 
very cautiously and very slowly. 

11 They ought to be "killed," Henry said. " But they 
have no chance, and I haven't the heart to do it. But I'll 
surely shake them up some." 

Again he fired into his planted dynamite, and again, 
turning his back on the confusion, he fled to his third 
planting. 

After he had fired off the third explosion, he raced Leoncia 
to his tethered horse, put her in the saddle, and ran on beside 
her, hanging on to her stirrup. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

FRANCIS had left orders for Parker to call him at eight o'clock, 
and when Parker softly entered he found his master still 
asleep. Turning on the water in the bathroom and prepar- 
ing the shaving gear, the valet re-entered the bedroom. 
Still moving softly about so that his master would have the 
advantage of the last possible second of sleep, Parker's eyes 
lighted on the strange dagger that stood upright, its point 
pinning through a note and a photograph and into the hard 
wood of the dresser-top. For a long time he gazed at the 
strange array, then, without hesitation, carefully opened 
the door to Mrs. Morgan's room and peeped in. Next, he 
firmly shook Francis by the shoulder. 

The latter's eyes opened, for a second betraying the in- 
comprehension of the sleeper suddenly awakened, then light- 
ing with recognition and memory of the waking order he had 
left the previous night. 

Time to get up, sir," the valet murmured. 

Which is ever an ill time," Francis yawned with a smile. 

He closed his eyes with a, " Let me lie a minute, Parker. 
If I doze, shake me." 

But Parker shook him immediately. 

* You must get up right away, sir. I think something has 
happened to Mrs. Morgan. She is not in her room, and there 
is a queer note and a knife here that may explain. I don't 
know, sir " 

Francis was out of bed in a bound, staring one moment at 
the dagger, and next, drawing it out, reading the note over 
and over as if its simple meaning, contained in two simple 
words, were too abstruse for his comprehension. 

" Adios forever," said the note. 

What shocked him even more, was the dagger thrust 
between Leoncia's eyes, and, as he stared at the wound 
made in the thin cardboard, it came to him that he had seen 
this very thing before, and he remembered back to the lake- 

256 



HEARTS OF THREE 257 

dwelling of the Queen when all had gazed into the golden 
bowl and seen variously, and when he had seen Leoncia's 
face on the strange liquid metal with the knife thrust be- 
tween the eyes. He even put the dagger back into the card- 
board wound and stared at it some more. 

The explanation was obvious. The Queen had betrayed 
jealousy against Leoncia from the first, and here, in New 
York, finding her rival's photograph on her husband's 
dresser, had no more missed the true conclusion than had she 
missed the pictured features with her point of steel. But 

where was she ? Where had she gone ? she who was the 

veriest stranger that had ever entered the great city, who 
called the telephone the magic of the flying speech, who 
thought of Wall Street as a temp'le, and regarded Business 
as the New York man's god. For all the world she was as 
unsophisticated and innocent of a great city as had she been 
a traveler from Mars. Where and how had she passed the 
night? Where was she now? Was she even alive? 

Visions of the Morgue with its unidentified dead, and of 
bodies drifting out to sea on the ebb, rushed into his brain. 
It was Parker who steadied him back to himself. 

' Is there anything I can do, sir? Shall I call up the 

detective bureau? Your father always " 

' Yes, yes," Francis interrupted quickly. ' There was 
one man he employed more than all others, a young man 
with the Pinkertons do you remember his name?" 

" Birchman, sir," Parker answered promptly, moving 
away. " I shall send for him to come at once." 

And thereupon, in the quest after his wife, Francis entered 
upon a series of adventures that were to him, a born New 
Yorker, a liberal education in conditions and phases of New 
York of which, up to that time, he had been profoundly 
ignorant. Not alone did Birchman search, but he had at 
work a score of detectives under him who fine-tooth-combed 
the city, while in Chicago and Boston, he directed the 
activities of similar men. 

Between his battle with the unguessed enemy of Wall 
Street, and the frequent calls he received to go here and 
there and everywhere, on the spur of the moment, to identify 
what might possibly be his wife, Francis led anything but a 
boresome existence. He forgot what regular hours of sleep 
were, and grew accustomed to being dragged from luncheon 
or dinner, or of being routed out of his bed, to respond to 
hurry calls to come and look over new-found missing ladies, 



258 HEARTS OF THREE 

No trace of one answering her description, who had left the 
city by train or steamer had been discovered, and Birch- 
man assiduously pursued his fine-tooth combing, convinced 
that she was still in the city. 

Thus, Francis took trips to Mattenwan and down Black- 
well's, and the Tombs and the Ail-Night court knew his 
presence. Nor did he escape being dragged to countless 
hospitals nor to the Morgue. Once, a fresh-caught shop- 
lifter, of whom there was no criminal record and to whom 
there was no clew of identity, was brought to his notice. 
He had adventures with mysterious women cornered by 
Birchman's satellites in the back rooms of Eaines' Hotels, 
and, on the West Side, in the Fifties, was guilty of trespass- 
ing upon two comparatively innocent love-idyls, to the 
embarrassment of all concerned including himself. 

Perhaps his most interesting and tragic adventure was in 
the ten-million-dollar mansion of Philip January, the Tellu- 
ride mining king. The strange woman, a lady slender, had 
wandered in upon the Januarys a week before, ere Francis 
came to see her. And, as she had heartbreakingly done 
for the entire week, so she heartbreakingly did for Francis, 
wringing her hands, perpetually weeping, and murmuring 
beseechingly: " Otho, you are wrong. On my knees I tell 
you you are wrong. Otho, you, and you only, do I love. 
There is no one but you, Otho. There has never been any 
one but you. It is all a dreadful mistake. Believe me, 
Otho, believe me, or I shall die . . ." 

And through it all, the Wall Street battle went on against 
the undiscoverable and powerful enemy who had launched 
what Francis and Bascom could not avoid acknowledging 
was a catastrophic, war-to-the-death raid on his fortune. 

' If only we can avoid throwing Tampico Petroleum into 
the whirlpool," Bascom prayed. 

" I look to Tampico Petroleum to save me," Francis 
replied. ' When every security I can lay hand to has been 
engulfed, then, throwing in Tampico Petroleum will be like 
the eruption of a new army upon a losing field. 

And suppose your unknown foe is powerful enough to 
swallow down that final, splendid asset and clamor for 
more?" Bascom queried. 

Francis shrugged his shoulders. 

" Then I shall be broke. But my father went broke half 
a dozen times before he won out. Also was he born broke. 
I should worry about a little thing like that. " 



HEARTS OF THREE 259 

For a time, in the Solano hacienda, events had been mov- 
ing slowly. In fact, following upon the rescue of Leoncia 
by Henry along his dynamite-sown trail, there had been no 
events. Not even had Yi Poon appeared with a perfectly 
fresh and entirely brand new secret to sell. Nothing had 
happened, save that Leoncia drooped and was apathetic, that 
neither Enrico nor Henry, her full brother, nor her Solano 
brothers who were not her brothers at all, could cheer her. 

But, while Leoncia drooped, Henry and the tall sons of 
Eurico worried and perplexed themselves about the treasure 
in the Valley of the Lost Souls, into which Torres was even 
then dynamiting his way. One thing they did know, namely, 
that the Torres' expedition had sent Augustino and Vicente 
back to San Antonio to get two more mule-loads of dynamite. 

It was Henry, after conferring with Enrico and obtaining 
his permission, who broached the matter to Leoncia. 

" Sweet sister," had been his way, " we're going to go 
up and see what the scoundrel Torres and his gang are doing. 
We do know, thanks to you, their objective. The dynamite 
is to blow an entrance into the Valley. We know where 
the Lady Who Dreams sank her treasure when her house 
burned. Torres does not know this. The idea is that we 
can follow them into the Valley, when they have drained 
the Maya caves, and have as good a chance, if not a better 
chance than they in getting possession of that marvelous 
chest of gems. And the very tip of the point is that we'd 
like to take you along on the expedition. I fancy, if we 
managed to get the treasure ourselves, that you wouldn't 
mind repeating that journey down the subterranean river." 

But Leoncia shook her head wearily. 

" No," she said, after further urging. " I never want to 
see the Valley of the Lost Souls again, nor ever to hear it 
mentioned. There is where I lost Francis to that woman." 

" It was all a mistake, darling sister. But who was to 
know? I did not. You did not. Nor did Francis. He 
played the man's part fairly and squarely. Not knowing 
that you and I were brother and sister, believing that we 
were truly betrothed as we were at the time he re- 
frained from trying to win you from me, and he rendered 
further temptation impossible and saved the lives of all 
of us by marrying the Queen." 

" I miss you and Francis singing your everlasting ' Back 
to back against the mainmast,' " she murmured sadly and 
irrelevantly. 



260 HEARTS OF THREE 

Quiet tears welled into her eyes and brimmed over as she 
turned away, passed down the steps of the veranda, crossed 
the grounds, and aimlessly descended the hill. For the 
twentieth time since she had last seen Francis she pursued 
the same course, covering the same ground from the time 
she first espied him rowing to the beach from the Angelique, 
through her dragging him into the jungle to save him from 
her irate men-folk, to the moment, with drawn revolver, 
when she had kissed him and urged him- into the boat and 
away. This had been his first visit. 

Next, she covered every detail of his second visit from 
the moment, coming from behind the rock after her swim 
in the lagoon, she had gazed upon him leaning against the 
rock as he scribbled his first note to her, through her startled 
flight into the jungle, the bite on her knee of the labarri 
(which she had mistaken for a deadly viperine), to her re- 
coiling collision against Francis and her faint on the sand. 
And, under her parasol, she sat down on the very spot where* 
she had fainted and come to, to find him preparing to suck 
the poison from the wound which he had already excoriated. 
As she remembered back, she realized that it had been the 
pain of the excoriation which brought her to her senses. 

Deep she was in the sweet recollections of how she had 
slapped his cheek even as his lips approached her knee, 
blushed with her face hidden in her hands, laughed because 
her foot had been made asleep by his too-efficient tourniquet, 
turned white with anger when he reminded her that she 
considered him the murderer of her uncle, and repulsed his 
offer to untie the tourniquet. So deep was she in such fond 
recollections of only the other day that yet seemed separated 
from the present by half a century, such was the wealth of 
episode, adventure, and tender passages which had inter- 
vened, that she did not see the rattletrap rented carriage 
from San Antonio drive up the beach road. Nor did she see 
a lady, fashionably clad in advertisement that she was from 
New York, dismiss the carriage and proceed toward her on 
foot. This lady, who was none other than the Queen, 
Francis' wife, likewise sheltered herself beneath a parasol 
from the tropic sun. 

Standing directly behind Leoncia, she did not realize that 
she had surprised the girl in a moment of high renunciation. 
All that she did know was that she saw Leoncia draw from 
her breast and gaze long at a tiny photograph. Over her 
shoulder the Queen made it out to be a snapshot of Francis, 



HEARTS OF THREE 261 

whereupon her mad jealousy raged anew. A poinard flashed 
to her hand from its sheath within the bosom of her dress. 
The quickness of this movement was sufficient to warn 
Leoncia, who tilted her parasol forward so as to look up 
at whatever person stood at her back. Too utterly dreary 
even to feel surprise, she greeted the wife of Francis Morgan 
as casually as if she had parted from her an hour before. 
Even the poinard failed to arouse in her curiosity or fear. 
Perhaps, .had she displayed startlement and fear, the Queen 
might have driven the steel home to her. As it was, she 
could only cry out. 

' You are a vile woman! A vile, vile woman!" 

To which Leoncia merely shrugged her shoulders, and 
said : 

You would better keep your parasol between you and 
the sun." 

The Queen passed round in front of her, facing her and 
staring down at her w r ith woman's wrath compounded of 
such jealousy as to be speechless. 

" Why?" Leoncia was the first to speak, after a long 
pause. ' Why am I a vile woman?" 

" Because you are a thief," the Queen flamed. " Be- 
cause you are a stealer of men, yourself married. Because 

you are unfaithful to your husband in heart, at least, 

since more than that has so far been impossible." 
' I have no husband," Leoncia answered quietly. 

" Husband to be, then 1 thought you were to be mar- 
ried the day after our departure." 

" I have no husband to be," Leoncia continued with the 
same quietness. 

So swiftly tense did the other woman become that Leoncia 
idly thought of her as a tigress. 

" Henry Morgan!" the Queen cried. 

" He is my brother." 

" A word which I have discovered is of wide meaning, 
Leoncia Solano. In New York there are worshippers at cer- 
tain altars who call all men in the world ' brothers,' all 
women ' sisters.' ' 

" His father was my father," Leoncia explained with 
patient explicitness. ' His mother was my mother. We are 
full brother and sister." 

" And Francis?" the other queried, convinced, with 
sudden access of interest. " Are you, too, his sister?" 

Leoncia shook her head. 



262 HEAETS OF THREE 

" Then you do love Francis!" the Queen charged, smart- 
ing with disappointment. 

'You have him," said Leoncia. 

" No ; for you have taken him from me. " 

Leoncia slowly and sadly shook her head and sadly gazed 
out over the heat-shimmering surface of Chili qui Lagoon. 

After a long lapse of silence, she said, wearily, " Believe 
that. Believe anything. ' ' 

" I divined it in you from the first," the Queen cried. 
' You have a strange power over men. I ani a woman not 
unbeautiful. Sine I have been out in the world I have 
watched the eyes of men looking at me. I know I am not 
all undesirable. Even have the wretched males of my Lost 
Valley with downcast eyes looked love at me. On dared 
more than look, and he died for me, or because of me, and 
was flung into the whirl of waters to his fate. And yet you, 
with this woman's power of yours, strangely exercise it 
over my Francis so that in my very arms he thinks of you. 
I know it. I know that even then he thinks of you ! ' ' 

Her last words were the cry of a passion-stricken and 
breaking heart. And the next moment, though very little 
to Leoncia's surprise, being too hopelessly apathetic to b 
surprised at anything, the Queen dropped her knife in th 
sand and sank down, buried her face in her hands, and sur- 
rendered to the weakness of hysteric grief. Almost idly, 
and quit mechanically, Leoncia put her arm around her 
and comforted her. For many minutes this continued, when 
th Queen, growing more cairn, spo^e with sudden deter- 
mination. 

" I left Francis the moment I knew he loved you," she 
said. " I drove my knife into the photograph of you he 
keeps in his bedroom, and returned here to do the same 
to you in person. But I was wrong. It is not your fault, 
nor Francis'. It is my fault that I have failed to win his 
love. Not you, but I it is who must die. But first, I 
must go back to my valley and recover my treasure. In 
the temple called Wall Street, Francis is in great trouble. 
His fortune may be taken away from him, and he requires 
another fortune to save his fortune. I have that fortune, 
and there is no time to lose. Will you and yours help me? 
It is for Francis' sake." 



CHAPTER XXVII 

So it came about that the Valley of the Lost Souls was 
invaded subterraneously from opposite directions by two 
parties of treasure-seekers. From one side, and quickly, 
came the Queen and Leoncia, Henry Morgan, and the 
Solanos. Far more slowly, although they had started long 
in advance, did Torres and the Jefe progress. The first 
attack on the mountain had proved the chief est obstacle. 
To blow open an entrance to the Maya caves had required 
more dynamite than they had originally brought, while the 
rock had proved stubborner than they expected. Further, 
when they had finally made a way, it had proved to be above 
the cave floor, so that more blasting had been required to 
drain off the water. And, having blasted their way in to 
the water-logged mummies of the conquistadores and to the 
Room of the Idols, they had to blast their way out again and 
on into the heart of the mountain. But first, ere they con- 
tinued on, Torres looted the ruby eyes of Chia and the 
emerald eyes of Hzatzl. 

Meanwhile, with scarcely any delays, the Queen and her 
party penetrated to the Valley through the mountain on 
the opposite side. Nor did they entirely duplicate the course 
of their earlier traverse. The Queen, through long gazing 
into her Mirror, knew every inch of the way. Where the 
underground river plunged through the passage and out into 
the bosom of the Gualaca River it was impossible to take in 
their boats. But, by assiduous search under her directions, 
they found the tiny mouth of a cave on the steep wall of the 
cliff, so shielded by a growth of mountain berries that only 
by knowing for what they sought could they have found it. 
By main strength, applied to the coils of rope which they 
had brought along, they hoisted their canoes up the cliff, 
portaged them on their shoulders through the winding 
passage, and launched them on the subterranean river itself 
where it ran so broadly and placidly between wide banks 

263 



264 HEARTS OF THREE 

that they paddled easily against its slack current. At other 
times, where the river proved too swift, they lined the canoes 
up by towing from the bank; and wherever the river made 
a plunge through the solid tie-ribs of mountain, the Queen 
showed them the obviously hewn and patently ancient 
passages through which to portage their light crafts around. 
Here we leave the canoes," the Queen directed at last, 
and the men began securely mooring them to the bank in the 
light of the flickering torches. " It is but a short distance 
through the last passage. Then we will come to a small 
opening in the cliff, shielded by climbing vines and ferns, 
and look down upon the spot where my house once stood 
beside the whirl of waters. The ropes will be necessary in 
order to descend the cliff, but it is only about fifty feet. ' ' 

Henry, with an electric torch, led the way, the 'Queen 
beside him, while old Enrico and Leoncia brought up the 
rear, vigilant to see that no possible half-hearted peon or 
Indian boatman should slip back and run away. But when 
the party came to where the mouth of the passage ought to 
have been, there 1 was no mouth. The passage ceased, being 
blocked off solidly from floor to roof by a debris of crumbled 
rocks that varied in size from paving stones to native houses. 

" Who could have done this?" the Queen exclaimed 
angrily. 

But Henry, after a cursory examination, reassured her. 

" It's just a slide of rock," he said, " a superficial fault 
in the outer skin of the mountain that has slipped; and it 
won't take us long with our dynamite to remedy it. Lucky 
we fetched a supply along." 

But it did take long. For what was the remainder of the 
day and throughout the night they toiled. Large charges of 
explosive were not used because of Henry's fear of exciting 
a greater slip along the fault overhead. What dynamite was 
used was for the purpose of loosening up the rubble so that 
they could shift it back along the passage. At eight the 
following morning the charge was exploded that opened up 
to them the first glimmer of daylight ahead. After that they 
worked carefully, being apprehensive of jarring down fresh 
slides. At the last, they were baffled by a ten-ton block of 
rock in the very mouth of the passage. Through crevices 
on either side of it they could squeeze their arms into the 
blazing sunshine, yet the stone-block thwarted them. No 
leverage they applied could more than quiver it, and Henry 



HEARTS OF THREE 265 

decided on one final blast that would topple it out and down 
into the Valley. 

" They'll certainly know visitors are coming, the way 
we've been knocking on their back door for the last fifteen 
hours," he laughed, as he prepared to light the fuse. 



Assembled before the altar of the Sun God at the Long 
House, the entire population was indeed aware, and 
anxiously aware, of the coming of visitors. So disastrous 
had been their experiences with their last ones, when the 
lake dwelling had been burned and their Queen lost to them, 
that they were now begging the Sun God to send no more 
visitors. But upon one thing, having been passionately 
harangued by their priest, they were resolved; namely, to 
kill at sight and without parley whatever newcomers did 
descend upon them. 

" Even Da Vasco himself," the priest had cried. 

" Even Da Vasco!" the Lost Souls had responded. 

All were armed with spears, war-clubs, and bows and 
arrows; and while they waited they continued to pray before 
the altar. Every few minutes runners arrived from the lake, 
making the same reports that while the mountain still 
labored thunderously nothing had emerged from it. 

The little girl of ten, the Maid of the Long House who 
had entertained Leoncia, was the first to spy out new 
arrivals. This was made possible because of the tribe's 
attention being fixed on the rumbling mountain beside the 
lake. No one expected visitors out of the mountain on the 
opposite side of the valley. 

' Da Vasco!" she cried. " Da Vasco I" 

All looked and saw, not fifty yards away, Torres, the Jefe, 
and their gang of followers, emerging into the open clearing. 
Torres wore again the helmet he had filched from his 
withered ancestor in the Chamber of the Mummies. Their 
greeting was instant and warm, taking the form of a flight 
of arrows that arched into them and stretched two of the 
followers on the ground. Next, the Lost Souls, men and 
women, charged; while the rifles of Torres' men began to 
speak. So unexpected was this charge, so swiftly made and 
with so short a distance to cover, that, though many fell 
before the bullets, a number reached the invaders and 
engaged in a desperate hand-to-hand conflict. Here the 
advantage of firearms was minimized, and gendarmes and 



266 HEARTS OF THREE 

others were thrust through by spears or had their skulls 
cracked under the ponderous clubs. 

In the end, however, the Lost Souls were outfought, 
thanks chiefly to the revolvers that could kill in the thickest 
of the scuffling. The survivors fled, but of the invaders 
half were down and down forever. The women having in 
drastic fashion attended to every man who fell wounded. 
The Jefe was spluttering with pain and rage at an arrow 
which had perforated his arm; nor could he be appeased 
until Vicente cut off the barbed head and pulled out the 
shaft. 

Torres, beyond an aching shoulder where a club had hit 
him, was uninjured; and he became jubilant when he saw 
the old priest dying on the ground with his head resting on 
the little maid's knees. 

Since there were no wounded of their own to be attended 
to with rough and ready surgery, Torres and the Jefe led the 
way to the lake, skirted its shores, and came to the ruins 
of the Queen's dwelling. Only charred stumps of piles, 
projecting above the water, showed where it had once stood. 
Torres was nonplussed, but the Jefe was furious. 

" Jlere, right hi this house that was, the treasure chest 
stood," he stammered. 

" A wild goose chase!" the Jefe grunted. " Senor 
Torres, I always suspected you were a fool." 

" How was I to know the place had been burned down?" 
' You ought to have known, you who are so very wise in 
all things," the Jefe bickered back. " But you can't fool 
me. I had my eye on you. I saw you rob the emeralds and 
rubies from the eye-sockets of the Maya gods. That much 
you shall divide with me, and now." 

' Wait, wait, be a trifle patient," Torres begged. " Let 
us first investigate. Of course, I shall divide the four gems 
with you but what are they compared with a whole chest- 
full? It was a light, fragile house. The chest may have 
fallen into the water undamaged by fire when the roof fell in. 
And water will not damage precious stones." 

In amongst the burnt piling the Jefe sent his men to in- 
vestigate, and they waded and swam about in the shoal 
w r ater, being careful to avoid being caught by the outlying 
suck of the whirlpool. Augustino, the Silent, made the find, 
close in to shore. 

" I am standing on something," he announced, the level 
of the lake barely to his knees. 



HEARTS OF THREE 267 

Torres plunged in, and, reaching under till he buried his 
head and shoulders, felt out the object. 

" It is the chest, I am certain," he declared. " Come 1 
All of you ! Drag this out to the dry land so that we may 
examine into it ! " 

But when this was accomplished, and just as he bent to 
Dpen the lid, the Jefe stopped him. 

" Go back into the water, the lot of you," he commanded 
:iis men. " There are a number of chests like this, and the 
expedition will be a failure if we don't find them. One chest 
vould not pay the expenses." 

Not until all the men were floundering and groping in the 
ivater, did Torres raise the lid. The Jefe stood transfixed. 
He could only gaze and mutter inarticulate mouthings. 

" Now will you believe?" Torres queried. " It is beyond 
price. We are the richest two men in Panama, in South 
America, in the world. This is the Maya treasure. We 
heard of it when' we were boys. Our fathers and our grand- 
fathers dreamed of it. The Conquistadores failed to find 
it. And it is ours ours!" 

And, while the two men, almost stupefied, stood and 
stared, one by one their followers crept out of the water, 
formed a silent semi-circle at their backs, and likewise 
stared. Neither did the Jefe and Torres know their men 
stood at their backs, nor did the men know of the Lost Souls 
that were creeping stealthily upon them from the rear. As 
it was, all were staring at the treasure with fascinated amaze- 
ment when the attack was sprung. 

Bows and arrows, at ten yards distance, are deadly, 
especially when due time is taken to make certain of aim. 
Two-thirds of the treasure -seekers went down simultane- 
ously. Through Vicente, who had chanced to be standing 
directly behind Torres, no less than two spears and five 
arrows had perforated. The handful of survivors had barely 
time to seize their rifles and whirl, when the club attack was 
upon them. In this Rafael and Ignacio, two of the 
gendarmes who had been on the adventure to the Juchitan 
oil fields, almost immediately had their skulls cracked. 
And, as usual, the Lost Souls women saw to it that the 
wounded did not remain wounded long. 

The end for Torres and the Jefe was but a matter of 
moments, when a loud roar from the mountain followed by 
a crashing avalanche of rock, created a diversion. The few 
Lost Souls that remained alive, darted back terror-stricken 



268 HEARTS OF THEEE 

into the shelter of the bushes. The Jefe and Torres, who 
alone stood on their feet and breathed, cast their eyes up 
the cliff to where the smoke still issued from the new-made 
hole, and saw Henry Morgan and the Queen step into the 
sunshine on the lip of the cliff. 

' You take the lady," the Jefe snarled. " I shall get 
the Gringo Morgan if it's the last act of what seems a life 
that isn't going to be much longer." 

Both lifted their rifles and fired. Torres, never much at 
a shot, sent his bullet fairly centered into the Queen's breast. 
But the Jefe, master marksman and possessor of many 
medals, made a clean miss of his target. The next instant, 
a bullet from Henry's rifle struck his wrist and traveled up 
the forearm to the elbow, whence it escaped and passed on. 
And as his rifle clattered to the ground he knew that never 
again would that right arm, its bone pulped from wrist to 
elbow, have use 'for a rifle. 

But Henry was not shooting well. Just emerged from 
twenty -four hours of darkness in the cave, not at once 
could his eyes adjust themselves to the blinding dazzle of 
the sun. His first shot had been lucky. His succeeding 
shots merely struck in the immediate neighbourhood of the 
Jefe and Torres as they turned and fled madly for the 
brush. 



Ten minutes later, the wounded Jefe in the lead, Torres 
saw a woman of the Lost Souls spring out from behind 
a tree and brain him with a huge stone wielded in both her 
hands. Torres shot her first, then crossed himself with 
horror, and stumbled on. From behind arose distant calls 
of Henry and the Solano brothers in pursuit, and he remem- 
bered the vision of his end he had glimpsed but refused to 
see in the Mirror of the World and wondered if this end was 
near upon him. Yet it had not resembled this place of 
trees and ferns and jungle. From the glimpse he remem- 
bered nothing of vegetation only solid rock and blazing 

sun and bones of animals. Hope sprang up afresh at the 
thought. Perhaps that end was not for this day, maybe 
not for this year. Who knew? Twenty years might yet 
pass ere that end came. 

Emerging from the jungle, he came upon a queer ridge 
of what looked like long disintegrated lava rock. Here he 
left no trail, and he proceeded carefully on beyond it 



HEARTS OF THREE 269 

through further jungle, believing once again in his star that 
would enable him to elude pursuit. His plan of escape took 
shape. He would find a safe hiding place until after dark. 
Then he would circle back to the lake and the whirl of waters. 
That gained, nothing and nobody could stop him. He had 
but to leap in. The subterranean journey had no terrors 
for him because he had done it before. And in his fancy 
he saw once more the pleasant picture of the Gualaca Eiver 
flashing under the open sky on its way to the sea. Besides, 
did he not carry with him the two great emeralds and two 
great rubies that had been the eyes of Chia and Hzatzl? 
Fortune enough, and vast good fortune, were they for any 
man. What if he had failed by the Maya Treasure to 
become the richest man in the world? He was satisfied. 
All he wanted now was darkness and one last dive into the 
heart of the mountain and through the heart of the mountain 
to the Gualaca flowing to the sea. 

And just then, the assured vision of his escape so vividly 
filling his eyes that he failed to observe the way of his feet, 
he dived. Nor was it a dive into swirling waters. It was 
a head-foremost, dry-land dive down a slope of rock. So 
slippery was it that he continued to slide down, although 
he managed to turn around, with face and stomach to the 
surface, and to claw wildly up with hands and feet. Such 
effort merely slowed his descent, but could not stop it. 

For a while, at the bottom, he lay breathless and dazed. 
When his senses came back to him, he became aware first 
of all of something unusual upon which his hand rested. 
He could have sworn that he felt teeth. At length, opening 
his eyes with a shudder and summoning his resolution, he 
dared to look at the object. And relief was immediate. 
Teeth they were, in an indubitable, weather-white jaw-bone; 
but they were pig's teeth and the jaw was a pig's jaw. 
Other bones lay about, on which his body rested, which, 
on examination, proved to be the bones of pigs and of smaller 
animals. 

Where had he glimpsed such an arrangement of bones? 
He thought, and remembered the Queen's great golden bowl. 
He looked up. Ah ! Mother of God ! The very place ! He 
knew it at first sight, as he gazed up what was a funnel 
at the far spectacle of day. -Fully two hundred feet above 
him was the rim of the funnel. The sides of hard, smooth 
rock sloped steeply in and down to him, and his eyes and 



270 HEARTS OF THREE 

judgment told him that no man born of woman could ever 
scale that slope. 

The fancy that came to his mind caused him to spring 
to his feet in sudden panic and look hastily round about 
him. Only on a more colossal scale, the funnel in which 
he was trapped had reminded him of the funnel-pits dug 
in the sand by hunting spiders that lurked at the bottom 
for such prey that tumbled in upon them. And, his vivid 
fancy leaping, he had been frightened by the thought that 
some spider monster, as colossal as the funnel-pit, might 
possibly be lurking there to devour him. But no such denizen 
occurred. The bottom of the pit, circular in form, was a 
good ten feet across and carpeted, he knew not how deep, 
by a debris of small animals' bones. Now for what had the 
Mayas of old time made so tremendous an excavation? he 
questioned; for. he was more than half -convinced that the 
funnel was no natural phenomenon. 

Before nightfall he made sure, by a dozen attempts, that 
the funnel was unscalable. Between attempts, he crouched 
in the growing shadow of the descending sun and panted 
dry-lipped with heat and thirst. Tn'e place was a very fur- 
nace, and the juices of his body were wrung from him in 
prof use 'perspiration. Throughout the night, between dozes, 
he vainly pondered the problem of escape. The only way 
out was up, nor could his mind devise any method of getting 
up. Also, he looked forward with terror to the' coming of 
the day, for he knew that no man could survive a full 
ten hours of the baking heat that would be his. Ere the 
next nightfall the last drop of moisture would have eva- 
porated from his body leaving him a withered and 
already half-sun-dried mummy. 

With the coming of daylight his growing terror added 
wings to his thought, and he achieved a new and profoundly 
simple theory of escape. Since he could not climb up, and 
since he could not get out through the sides themselves, 
then the only possible remaining way was down. Fool that 
he was ! He might have been working through the cool 
night hours, and now he must labour in the quickly increas- 
ing heat. He applied himself in an ecstasy of energy to 
digging down through the mass of crumbling bones. Of 
course, there was a way out. Else how did the funnel 
drain? Otherwise it would have been full or part full of 
water from the rains. = Fool! And thrice times thrice a 
fool! 



HEARTS OF THREE 271 

He dug down one side of the wall, flinging the rubbish 
into a mound against the opposite side. So desperately did 
he apply himself that he broke his finger-nails to the quick 
and deeper, while every finger-tip was lacerated to bleeding. 
But love of life was strong in him, and he knew it was a 
life-and-death race with the sun. As he went deeper, the 
rubbish became more compact, so that he used the muzzle 
of his rifle like a crowbar to loosen it, ere tossing it up in 
single and double handfuls. 

By mid-forenoon, his senses beginning to reel in the heat, 
he made a discovery. Upon the wall which he had un- 
covered, he came upon the beginning of an inscription, 
evidently rudely scratched in the rock by the point of a 
knife. With renewed hope, his head and shoulders down 
in the hole, he dug and scratched for all the world like a 
dog, throwing the rubbish out and between his legs in 
true dog-fashion. Some of it fell clear, but most of it fell 
back and down upon him. Yet had he become too frantic 
to note the inefficiency of his effort. 

At last the inscription was cleared, so that he was able 
to read : 

Peter McGill, of Glasgow. On March 12, 1820, 

I escaped from the Pit of Hell by this passage by 

digging down and finding it. 

A passage ! The passage must be beneath the inscription ! 
Torres now toiled in a fury. So dirt-soiled was he that 
he was like some huge, four-legged, earth-burrowing animal. 
The dirt got into his eyes, and, on occasion, into his nostrils 
and air passages so as to suffocate him and compel him to 
back up out of the hole and sneeze and cough his breathing 
apparatus clear. Twice he fainted. But the sun, by then 
almost directly overhead, drove him on. 

He found the upper rim of the passage. He did not dig 
down to the lower rim; for the moment the aperture was 
large enough to accommodate his lean shape, he writhed and 
squirmed into it and away from the destroying sun-rays. 
The cool and the dark soothed him, but his joy and the 
reaction from what he had undergone sent his pulse giddily 
up, so that for the third time he fainted. 

Eecovered, mouthing with black and swollen lips a half- 
insane chant of gratefulness and thanksgiving, he crawled 
on along the passage. Perforce he crawled, because it was 



272 HEAETS OF THREE 

so low that a dwarf could not have stood erect in it. The 
place was a charnel house. Bones crunched and crumbled 
under his hands and knees, and he knew that his knees 
were being worn to the bone. At the end of a hundred 
feet he caught his first glimmering of light. But the nearer 
he approached freedom, the slower he progressed, for the 
final stages of exhaustion were coming upon him. He knew 
that it was not physical exhaustion, nor food exhaustion, 
but thirst exhaustion. Water, a few ounces of water, was 
all he needed to make him strong again. And there was 
no water. 

But the light was growing stronger and nearer. He 
noted, toward the last, that the floor of the passage pitched 
down at an angle of fully thirty degrees. This made the way 
easier. Gravity drew him on, and helped every failing 
effort of him, toward the source of light. Very close to it, 
he encountered an increase in the deposit of bones. Yet they 
bothered him little, for they had become an old story, 
while he was too exhausted to mind them. 

He did observe, with swimming eyes and increasing numb- 
ness of touch, that the passage was contracting both ver- 
tically and horizontally. Slanting downward at thirty 
degrees, it gave him an impression of a rat-trap, himself 
the rat, descending head foremost toward he knew not what. 
Even before he reached it, he apprehended that the slit 
of bright day that advertised the open world beyond was 
too narrow for the egress of his body. And his apprehension 
was verified. Crawling unconcernedly over a skeleton that 
the blaze of day showed him to be a man's, he managed, 
by severely and painfully squeezing his ears flat back, to 
thrust his head through the slitted aperture. The sun beat 
down upon his head, while his eyes drank in the openness 
of the freedom of the world that the unyielding rock denied 
to the rest of his body. 

Mo<st maddening of all was a running stream not a 
hundred yards away, tree-fringed beyond, with lush meadow- 
grass leading down to it from his side. And in the tree- 
shadowed water, knee-deep and drowsing, stood several cows 
of the dwarf breed peculiar to the Valley of Lost Souls. 
Occasionally they flicked their tails lazily at flies, or 
changed the distribution of their weight on their legs. He 
glared at them to see them drink, but they were evidently 
too sated with water. Fools ! Why should they not drink, 
with all that wealth of water flowing idly by ! 



HEARTS OF THREE 273 

They betrayed alertness, turning their heads toward the 
far bank and pricking tneir ears forward. Then, as a big 
antlered buck came out from among the trees to the water's 
edge, they flattened their ears back and shook their heads 
and pawed the water till he could hear the splashing. But 
the stag disdained their threats, lowered his head, and drank. 
This was too much for Torres, who emitted a maniacal 
scream which, had he been in his senses, he would not have 
.recognised as proceeding from his own throat and larynx. 

The stag sprang away. The cattle turned their heads 
in Torres' direction, drowsed, their eyes shut, and resumed 
the nicking of flies. With a violent effort, scarcely knowing 
that he had half-torn off his ears, he drew his head back 
through the slitted aperture and fainted on top of the 
skeleton. 

Two hours later, though he did not know the passage of 
time, he regained consciousness, and found his own head 
cheek by jowl with the skull of the skeleton on which he 
lay. The descending sun was already shining into the 
narrow opening, and his gaze chanced upon a rusty knife. 
The point of it was worn and broken, and he established 
the connection. This was the knife that had scratched the 
inscription on the rock at the base of the funnel at the 
other end of the passage, and this skeleton was the bony 
framework of the man who had done the scratching. And 
Alvarez Torrez went immediately mad. 

" Ah, Peter McGill, my enemy," he muttered. ' Peter 
McGill of Glasgow who betrayed me to this end. This for 
you ! And this ! And this ! " 

So speaking, he drove the heavy knife into the fragile 
front of the skull. The dust of the bone which had once 
been the tabernacle of Peter McGill' s brain arose in his 
nostrils and increased his frenzy. He attacked the skeleton 
with his hands, tearing at it, disrupting it, filling the pent 
space about him with flying bones. It was like a battle, 
in which he destroyed what was left of the mortal remains 
of the one time resident of Glasgow. 

Once again Torres squeezed his head through the slit 
to gaze at the fading glory of the world. Like a rat in the 
trap caught by the neck in the trap of ancient Maya devis- 
ing, he saw the bright world and day dim to darkness as his 
final consciousness drowned in the darkness of death. 

But still the cattle stood hi the water and drowsed and 
flicked at flies, and, later, the stag returned, disdainful of 
the cattle, to complete its interrupted drink. 



CHAPTER XXVJII 

NOT for nothing had Began been named by his associates, 
The Wolf of Wall Street ! While usually no more than a 
conservative, large-scale player, ever SO' often, like a 
periodical drinker, he had to go on a rampage of wild and 
daring stock-gambling. At least five times in his long career 
had he knocked the bottom out of the market or lifted the 
roof off, and each time to the tune of a personal gain of 
millions. He never went on a small rampage, and he never 
went too often. 

He would let years of quiescence slip by, until suspicion 
of him was lulled asleep and his world deemed that the Wolf 
was at last grown old and peaceable. And then, like a 
thunderbolt, he would strike at the men and interests he 
wished to destroy. But, though the blow always fell like a 
thunderbolt, not like a thunderbolt was it in its inception. 
Long months, and even years, were spent in deviously pre- 
paring for the day and painstakingly maturing the plans and 
conditions for the battle. 

Thus had it been in the outlining and working up of the 
impending Waterloo for Francis Morgan. Revenge lay back 
of it, but it was revenge against a dead man. Not Francis, 
but Francis' father, was the one he struck against, although 
he struck through the living into the heart of the grave to 
accomplish it. Eight years he had* waited and sought his 
chance ere old R.H.M. - Richard Henry Morgan - had 
died. But no chance had he found. He was, truly, the 
Wolf of Wall Street, but never by any luck had he found an 
opportunity against the Lion for to his death R.H.M. had 
been known as the Lion of Wall Street. 

So, from father to son, always under a show of fair 
appearance, Regan had carried the feud over. Yet Regan's 
very foundation on which he built for revenge was mere- 
tricious and wrongly conceived. True, eight years before 
R.H.M.'s death, he had tried to double-cross him and failed; 






HEARTS OF THREE 275 

but he never dreamed that E.H.M. had guessed. Yet 
E.H.M. had not only guessed but had ascertained beyond 
any shadow of doubt, and had promptly and cleverly double- 
crossed his treacherous associate. Thus, had Regan known 
that E.H.M. knew of his perfidy, Eegan would have taken 
his medicine without thought of revenge. As it was, believ- 
ing that E.H.M. was as bad as himself, believing that 
E.H.M., out of meanness as mean as his own, without pro- 
vocation or suspicion, had done this foul thing to him, he 
saw no way to balance the account save by ruining him, or, 
in lieu of him, by ruining his son. 

And Eegan had taken his time. At first Francis had left 
the financial game alone, content with letting his money 
remain safely in the safe investments into which it had been 
put by his father. Not until Francis had become for the 
first time active in undertaking Tampico Petroleum to the 
tune of millions of investment, with an assured many 
millions of ultimate returns, had Eegan had the ghost of a 
chance to destroy him. But, the chance given, Eegan had 
not wasted time, though his slow and thorough campaign 
had required many months to develop. Ere he was done, he 
came very close to knowing every share of whatever stock 
Francis carried on margin or owned outright. 

It had really taken two years and more for Eegan to pre- 
pare. In some of the corporations in which Francis owned 
heavily, Eegan v.-as himself a director and no inconsiderable 
arbiter of destiny. In Frisco Consolidated he was president. 
In New York,* Vermont and Connecticut he was vice- 
president. From controlling one director in Northwestern 
Electric, he had played kitchen politics until he controlled 
the two-thirds majority. And so with all the rest, either 
directly, or indirectly through corporation and banking 
ramilications, he had his hand in the secret springs and 
levers of the financial and business mechanism which gave 
strength to Francis' fortune. 

Yet no one of these was more tl:an a bagatelle compared 

with the biggest thing of all Tampico Petroleum. In 

this, beyond a paltry twenty thousand shares bought on the 
open market, 'Eegan owned nothing, controlled nothing, 
though the time was growing ripe for him to sell and deal 
and juggle in inordinate quantities. Tampico Petroleum was 
practically Francis' private preserve. A number of his 
friends were, for them, deeply involved, Mrs. Carruthers 
even gravely so. She worried him, and was not even above 



276 HEAETS OF THREE 

pestering him over the telephone. There were others, like 
Johnny Pathmore, who never bothered him at all, and who, 
when they met, talked carelessly and optimistically about 
the condition of the market and financial things in general. 
All of which was harder to bear than Mrs. Carruthers' per- 
petual nervousness. 

Northwestern Electric, thanks to Regan's machinations, 
had actually dropped thirty points and remained there. 
Those on the outside who thought they knew, regarded it 
as positively shaky. Then there was Ihe little, old, solid- 
as-the-rock-of-Gibraltar Frisco Consolidated. The nastiest 
of rumors were afloat, and the talk of a receivership was 
growing emphatic. Montana Lode was still sickly under 
Mulhaney's unflattering and unmodified report, and Weston, 
the great expert sent out by the English investors, had 
failed to report anything reassuring. For six months, Im- 
perial Tungsten, earning nothing, had been put to disastrous 
expense in the great strike which seemed only just begun. 
Nor did anybody, save the several labor leaders who knew, 
dream that it was Regan's gold that was at the bottom of 
the affair. 

The secrecy and the deadliness of the attack was what 
unnerved Bascom. All properties in which Francis was in- 
terested were being pressed down as if by a slow-moving 
glacier. There was nothing spectacular about the move- 
ment, merely a steady persistent decline that made Francis' 
large fortune shrink horribly. And, along with what he 
owned outright, what he bsld on margin suffered even greater 
shrinkage. 

Then had come rumors of war. Ambassadors were receiv- 
ing their passports right and left, and half the world seemed 
mobilizing. This was the moment, with the market shaken 
and panicky, and with the world powers delaying in de- 
claring moratoriums, that Regan selected to strike. The time 
was ripe for a bear raid, and with him were associated half 
a dozen other big bears who tacitly accepted his leadership. 
But even they did not know the full extent of his plans, 
nor guess at the specific direction of them. They were in 
the raid for what they could make, and thought he was in 
it for the same reason, in their simple directness of pecuniary 
vision catching no glimpse of Francis Morgan nor of his 
ghostly father at whom the big blow was being struck. 

Regan's rumor factory began working overtime, and the 
first to drop and the fastest to drop in the dropping market 



HEARTS OF THREE 277 

were the stocks of Francis, which had already done consider 
able dropping ere the bear market began. Yet Regan was 
careful to bring no pressure on Tampico Petroleum. Proudly 
it held up its head in the midst of the general slump, and 
eagerly Kegan waited for the moment of desperation when 
Francis would be forced to dump it on the market to cover 
his shrunken margins in other lines. 



"Lord! Lord!" 

Bascom held the side of his face in the palm of one hand 
and grimaced as if he had a jumping toothache. 

" Lord! Lord!" he reiterated. " The market's gone to 
smash and Tampico Pet along with it. How she slumped ! 
Who'd have dreamed it!" 

Francis, puffing steadily away at a cigarette and quite 
oblivious that it was unlighted, sat with Bascom in the 
latter's private office. 

" It looks like a fire-sale," he vouchsafed. 

" That won't last longer than this time to-morrow morn- 
ing then you'll be sold out, and me with you," his 

broker simplified, with a swift glance at the clock. 

It marked twelve, as Francis' swiftly automatic glance 
verified. 

" Dump in the rest of Tampico Pet," he said wearily. 
" That ought to hold back until to-morrow." 

"Then what to-morrow?" bis broker demanded, "with 
the bottom out and everybody including the office boys 
selling short." 

Francis shrugged his shoulders. " You know I've mort- 
gaged- the house, Dreamwold, and the Adirondack Camp to 
.the limit." 

' Have you any friends?" 

" At such a time!" Francis countered bitterly. 

" Well, it's the very time," Bascom retorted. ' Look 
here, Morgan. I know the set you ran with at college. 
There's Johnny Pathmore " 

" And he's up to his eyes already. When I smash he 
smashes. And Dave Donaldson will have to readjust his 
life to about one hundred and sixty a month. And as for 
Chris Westhouse, he'll have to take to the movies for a 
livelihood. He always was good at theatricals, and I happen 
to know he's got the ideal ' film ' face." 



278 HEARTS OF THREE 

' There's Charley Tippery," Bascom suggested, though it 
was patent that he was hopeless about it. 

Yes," Francis agreed with equal hopelessness. " There's 
only one thing the matter with him his father still li ves. ' ' 

- The old cuss never took a flyer in his life," Bascom 
supplemented. " There's never a time he can't put his hand 
on millions. And he still lives, worse luck." 

" Charley could get him to do it, and would, except the 
one thing that's the matter with me." 

" No securities left?" his broker queried. 

Francis nodded. 

Catch the old man parting with a dollar without due 
security." 



Nevertheless, a few minutes later, hoping to find Charley 
Tippery in his office during the noon hour, Francis was send- 
ing in his card. Of all jewelers and gem merchants in New 
York, the Tippery establishment was the greatest. Not 
only that. It was esteemed the greatest in the world. More 
of the elder Tippery's money was invested in the great 
Diamond Corner, than even those in the know of most things 
knew of this particular thing. 

The interview was as Francis had forecast. The old man 
still held tight reins on practically everything, and the son 
had little hope of winning his assistance. 

" I know him," he told Francis. " And though I'm going 
to wrestle with him, don't pin an iota of faith on the out- 
come. I'll go to the mat with him, but that will be about 
all. The worst of it is that he has the ready cash, to say 
nothing of oodles and oodles of safe securities and United 
States bonds. But you see, Grandfather Tippery, when he 
was young and struggling and founding the business, once 
loaned a friend a thousand. He never got it back, and he 
never got over it. Nor did Father Tippery ever get over it 
either. The experience seared both of them. Why, father 
wouldn't lend a penny on the North Pole unless he got the 
Pole for security after having had it expertly ap- 
praised. And you haven't any security, you see. 
But I'll tell you what. I'll wrestle with the old 
man to-night after dinner. That's his most amiable 
mood of the day, And I'll hustle around on my own and 
see what I can do. Oh, I know a few hundred thousand 
won't mean anything, and I'll do my darnedest for some- 



HEARTS OF THREE 279 

thing big. Whatever happens, I'll be at your house at nine 
to-morrow ' ' 

11 \\hich will be my busy day," Francis smiled wanly, as 
they shook hands. ' I'll be out of the house by eight." 

" And I'll be there by eight then," Charley Tippery re- 
sponded, again wringing his hand heartily. " And in the 
meantime I'll get busy. There are ideas already beginning 
to sprout. . . ." 



Another interview Francis had that afternoon. Arrived 
back at his broker's office, Bascom told him that Regan had 
called up and wanted to see Francis, saying that he had 
some interesting information for him. 

44 I'll run around right away," Francis said, reaching for 
his hat, while his face lighted up with hope. " He was 
an old friend of father's, and if anybody could pull me 
through, he could." 

" Don't be too sure," Bascom shook his head, and paused 
reluctantly a moment before making confession. ' ' I called 
him up just before you returned from Panama. I was very 
frank. I told him of your absence and of your perilous 

situation here, and oh, yes, flatly and flat out asked 

him if I could rely on him in case of need. And he baffled. 
You know anybody can baffle when asked a favor. That 
was all right. But I thought I sensed more . . .no, I 
won't dare to say enmity; but I will say that I was im- 
pressed . . . how shall I say? well, that he struck me 
as being particularly and peculiarly cold-blooded and non- 
committal." 

" Nonsense," Francis laughed. " He was too good a 
friend of my father's." 

" Ever heard of the Conmopolitan Railways Merger?" 
Bascom queried with significant irrelevance. 

Francis nodded promptly, then said: 

" But that was before my time. I merely have heard of 
it, that's all. Shoot. Tell me about it. Give me the 
weight of your mind." 

" Too long a story, but take this one word of advice. If 
you see Regan, don't put your cards on the table. Let him 
play first, and, if he offers, let him offer without solicitation 
from you. Of course, I may be all wrong, but it won't 
damage you to hold up your hand and get his play first." 

At the end of another half hour, Francis was closeted with 



280 HEARTS OF THEEE 

Began, and the stress of his peril was such that he controlled 
his natural impulses, remembering Bascom's instruction, 
and was quite fairly nonchalant about the state of his 
affairs. He even bluffed. 

" In pretty deep, eh?" was Regan's beginning. 

" Oh, not so deep that my back-teeth are awash yet," 
Francis replied airily. "I can still breathe, and it will 
be a long time before I begin swallowing. ' ' 

Began did not immediately reply. Instead, pregnantly, 
he ran over the last few yards of the ticker tape. 

" You're dumping Tampico Pet pretty heavily, just the 
same." 

" And they're snapping it up," Francis came back, and 
for the first time, in a maze of wonderment, he considered 
the possibility of Bascom's intuition being right. " Sure, 
I've got them swallowing." 

" Just the same, you'll note that Tampico Pet is tumbling 
at the same time it's being snapped up, which is a very 
curious phenomenon," Began urged. 

" In a bear market all sorts of curious phenomena occur," 
Francis bluffed with a mature show of wisdom. " And when 
they've swallowed enough of my dumpings they'll be ripe 
to roll on a barrel. Somebody will pay something to get 
my dumpings out of their system. I fancy they'll pay 
through the nose before I'm done with them.'* 

" But you're all in, boy. I've been watching your fight, 
even before your return. Tampico Pet is your last." 

Francis shook his head. 

"I'd scarcely say that," he lied. " I've got assets my 
market enemies never dream of. I'm luring them on, that's 
all, just luring them on. Of course, Began, I'm telling you 
this in confidence. You were my father's friend. Mine is 
going to be some clean up, and, if you'll take my tip, in this 
short market you start buying. You'll be sure to settle with 
the sellers long in the end." 

" What are your other assets?" 

Francis shrugged his shoulders. 

11 That's what they're going to find out when they're full 
up with my stuff." 

" It's a bluff !" Began admired explosively. ' You've got 
the old man's nerve, all right. But you've got to show 
me it isn't bluff." 

Began waited, and Francis was suddenly inspired. 

" It is," he muttered. " You've named it. I'm drowning - 



HEAETS OF THREE 281 

over my back-teeth now, and they're the highest out of the 
wash. But I won't drown if you will help me. All you've 
got to do is to remember my father and put out your hand 
to save his son. If you'll back me up, we'll make them all 
sick. ..." 

And right there the Wolf of Wall Street showed his teeth. 
He pointed to Richard Henry Morgan's picture. 

" Why do you think I kept that hanging on the wail all 
these years?" he demanded. 

Francis nodded as if the one accepted explanation was 
their tried and ancient friendship. 

" Guess again," Regan sneered grimly. 

Francis shook his head in perplexity. 

" So I shouldn't ever forget him," the Wolf went on. 

" And never a waking moment have I forgotten him. 

Remember the Conmopolitan Railways Merger? Well, old 
R.H.M. double-crossed me in that deal. And it was some 
double-cross, believe me. But he was too cunning ever 
to let me get a come-back on him. So there his picture has 
hung, and here I've sat and waited. And now the time has 
come." 

" You mean?" Francis queried quietly. 

" Just that," Regan snarled. " I'v,e waited and worked 
for this day, and the day has come. I've got the whelp 
where I want him at any rate." He glanced up maliciously 
at the picture. " And if that don't make the old gent turn 
in his grave. . . ." 

Francis rose to his feet and regarded his enemy curiously. 
' No," he said, as if in soliloquy, " it isn't worth it." 
" What isn't worth what?" the other demanded with swift 
suspicion. 

" Beating you up," was the cool answer. " I could kill 
you with my hands in five minutes. You're no Wolf. You're 
just mere yellow dog, the part of you that isn't plain skunk. 
They told me to expect this of you; but I didn't believe, 
and I came to see. They were right. You were all that 
they said. Well, I must get along out of this. It smells 
like a den of foxes. It stinks." 

He paused with his hand on the door knob and looked 
back. He had not succeeded in making Regan lose his 
temper. 

" And what are you going to do about it?" the latter 
jeered. 



282 HEARTS OF THREE 

" If you'll permit me to get my broker on your 'phone 
maybe you'll learn," Francis replied. 

4 ' Go to it, my laddy buck," Began conceded, then, with 
a wave of suspicion, " I'll get him for you myself." 

And, having ascertained that Bascom was really at the 
other end of the line, he turned the receiver over to Francis. 
' You were right," the latter assured Bascom. " Eegan's 
all you said and worse. Go right on with your plan of cam- 
paign. We've got him where we want him, though the old 
fox won't believe it for a moment. He thinks he's going 
to strip me, clean me out." Francis paused to think up the 
strongest way of carrying on his bluff, then continued. " I'll 
tell you something you don't know. He's the one who 
manoauvred the raid from the beginning. So now you know 
who we're going to bury." 

And, after a little more of similar talk, he hung up. 
' You see," he explained, again from the door, "you 
were so crafty that we couldn't make out who it was. Why 
hell, Regan, we were prepared to give a walloping to some 
unknown that had several times your strength. And now 
that it's you, it's easy. We were prepared to strain. But 
with you it will be a walk-over. To-morrow, around this 
time, there's going to be a funeral right Here in your office 
and you're not going to be one of the mourners. You're 

going to be the corpse and a not-nice looking financial 

corpse you'll be when we get done with you." 

" The dead spit of E.H.M.," the Wolf grinned. " Lord, 
how he could pull off a bluff ! ' ' 

"It's a pity he didn't bury you and save me all the 
trouble," was Francis' parting shot. 

" And all the expense," Regan flung after him. " It's 
going to be pretty expensive for you, and there isn't going 
to be any funeral from this place." 



" Well, to-morrow's the day," Francis delivered to 
Bascom, as they parted that evening. " This time to- 
morrow I'll be a perfectly nice scalped and skinned and 
sun-dried and smoke-cured specimen for Regan's private col- 
lection. But who'd have believed the old^ skunk had it in 
for me ! I never harmed him. On the contrary, I always 

considered him father's best friend. If Charley Tippery 

could only come through with some of the Tippery surplus 
coin. ." 



HEARTS OF THREE 283 

"Or if the United States would only declare a mora- 
torium," Bascom hoped equally hopelessly. 

And Began, at that moment, was saying to his assem- 
bled agents and rumor-factory specialists : 

" Sell ! Sell ! Sell aU you've got and then sell short. I 
see no bottom to this market ! ' ' 

And Francis, on his way up town, buying the last extra, 
scanned the five-inch-lettered head-line : 



"I SEE NO BOTTOM TO THIS MARKET- 
THOMAS BEGAN." 

But Francis was not at his house at eight next tmorning 
to meet Charley Tippery. It had been a night in which 
official Washington had not slept, and the night-wires had 
carried the news out over the land that the United States, 
though not at war, had declared its moratorium. Wakened 
out of his bed at seven by Bascom in person, who brought 
the news, Francis had accompanied him down town. The 
moratorium had given them hope, and there was much to do. 

Charles Tippery, however, was not the first to arrive at 
the Biverside Drive palace. A few minutes before eight, 
Parker was very much disturbed and perturbed when Henry 
and Leoncia, much the worse for sunburn and travel-stain, 
brushed past the second butler who had opened the door. 

" It's no use you're coming in this way," Parker assured 
them. " Mr. Morgan is not at home." 

' Where's he gone?" Henry demanded, shifting the suit- 
case he carried to the other hand. " We've got to see him 
pronto, and I'll have you know that pronto means quick. 
And who in hell are you?" 

" I am Mr. Morgan's confidential valet," Parker answered 
solemnly. " And who are you?" 

" My name's Morgan," Henry answered shortly, looking 
about in quest of something, striding to the library, glancing 
in, and discovering the telephones. " Where's Francis? 
With what number can I call him up?" 

" Mr. Morgan left express instructions that nobody was 
to telephone him except on important business." 

4 Well, my business is important. What's the number?" 

" Mr. Morgan is very busy to-day," Parker reiterated 
stubbornly. 

" He's in a pretty bad way, eh?" Henry quizzed. 



284 HEARTS OF THREE 

The valet's face remained expressionless. 
^Looks as though he was going to be cleaned out to-day, 

Parker's face betrayed neither emotion nor intelligence. 

" For a second time I tell you he is very busy " he 

began. 

"Hell's bells!" Henry interrupted. "It's no secret. 
The market's got him where the hair is short. Everybody 
knows that. A lot of it was in the morning papers. Now 
come across, Mr. Confidential Valet. I want his number. 
I've got important business with him myself." 

But Parker remained obdurate. 

' What's his lawyer's name? Or the name of his agent? 
Or of any of his representatives?" 

Parker shook his head. 

" If you will tell me the nature of your business with 
him," the valet essayed. 

Henry dropped the suit-case and made as if about to leap 
upon the other and shake Francis' number out of him. But 
Leoncia intervened. 

" Tell him," she said. 

'Tell him!" Henry shouted, accepting her suggestion. 
" I'll do better than that. I'll show him. Here, come on, 
you." He strode into the library, swung the suit-case on 
the reading table, and began opening it. " Listen to me, 
Mr. Confidential Valet. Our business is the real business. 
We're going to save Francis Morgan. We're going to pull 
him out of the hole. We've got millions for him, right here 
inside of this thing " 

Parker, who had been looking on with cold, disapproving 
eyes, recoiled in alarm at the last words. Either the 
strange callers were lunatics, or cunning criminals. Even 
at that moment, while they held him here with their talk of 
millions, confederates might be ransacking the upper parts 
of the house. As for the suit-case, for all he knew it might 
be filled with dynamite. 
" Here!" 

With a quick reach Henry had caught him by the collar 
as he turned to flee. With his other hand, Henry lifted the 
cover, exposing a bushel of uncut gems. Parker showed 
plainly that he was overcorne, although Henry failed to guess 
the nature of his agitation. 

" Thought I'd convince you," Henry exulted. " Now be 
good dog and give me his number." 



HEARTS OF THREE 285 

" Be seated, sir ... and madame," Parker murmured, 
with polite bows and a successful effort to control himself. 
" Be seated, please. I have left the private number in Mr. 
Morgan's bedroom, which he gave to me this morning when 
I helped him dress. I shall be gone but a moment to get it. 
In the meantime please be seated." 

Once outside the library, Parker became a most active, 
clear-thinking person. Stationing the second footman at 
the front door, he placed the first one to watch at the library 
door. Several other servants he sent scouting into the 
upper regions on the chance of surprising possible confede- 
rates at their nefarious work. Himself he addressed, via 
the butler's telephone, to the nearest police station. 

" Yes, sir," he repeated to the desk sergeant. " They 
are either a couple of lunatics or criminals. Send a patrol 
wagon at once, please, sir. Even now I do not know what 
horrible crimes are being committed under this roof . . ." 

In the meantime, in response at the front door, the second 
footman, with visible relief, admitted Charley Tippery, clad 
in evening dress at that early hour, as a known and tried 
friend of the master. The first butler, with similar relief, 
to which he added sundry winks and warnings, admitted him 
into the library. 

Expecting he knew not what nor whom, Charley Tippe.ry 
advanced across the large room to the strange man and 
woman. Unlike Parker, their sunburn and travel-stain 
caught his eye, noi as insignia suspicious, but as tokens 
worthy of wider consideration than average New York 
accords its more or less average visitors. Leoncia's beauty 
was like a blow between the eyes, and he knew she was a 
lady. Henry's bronze, brazed upon features unmistakably 
reminiscent of Francis and of E.H.M., drew his admiration 
and respect. 

" Good morning," he addressed Henry, although he 
subtly embraced Leoncia with his greeting. " Friends of 
Francis?" 

"Oh, sir," Leoncia cried out. " We are more than 
friends. We are here to save him. I have read the 
morning papers. If only it weren't for the stupidity of the 
servants . . . ' 

And Charley Tippery was immediately unaware of any 
slightest doubt. He extended his hand to Henry. 

" I am Charley Tippery," he said. 

" And my name's Morgan, Henry Morgan," Henry met 



286 HEARTS OF THREE 

him warmly, like a drowning man clutching at a life pre- 
server. " And this is Miss Solano the Senorita Solano 

Mr. Tippery. In fact, Miss Solano is my sister." 

"I came on the same errand," Charley Tippery an- 
nounced, introductions over. " The saving of Francis, as I 
understand it, must consist of hard cash or of securities 
indisputably negotiable. I have brought with me what I 
have hustled all night to get, and what I am confident is not 
sufficient ' ' 

" How much have you brought?" Henry asked bluntly. 

" Eighteen hundred thousand what have you brought?" 

" Piffle," said Henry, pointing to the open suit-case, 
unaware that he talked to a three-generations' gem expert. 

A quick examination of a dozen of the gems picked at 
random, and an even quicker eye-estimate of the quantity, 
put wonder and excitement into Charley Tippery 's face. 

"They're worth millions! millions!" he exclaimed. 
" What are you going to do with them?" 

" Negotiate them, so as to help Francis out," Henry 
answered. "They're security for any amount, aren't 
they?" 

" Close up the suit-case," Charley Tippery cried, " while 
I telephone ! I want to catch my father before he leaves 
the house," he explained over his shoulder, while waiting 
for his switch. " It's only five minutes' run from here." 

Just as he concluded the brief words with his father, 
Parker, followed by a police lieutenant and two policemen, 
entered. 

" There's the gang, lieutenant arrest them," Parker 
said. " Oh, sir, I beg your pardon, Mr. Tippery. Not you, 
of course. Only the other two, lieutenant. I don't know 
what the charge will be crazy, anyway, if not worse, which 
is more likely." 

" How do you do, Mr. Tippery," the lieutenant greeted 
familiarly. 

" You'll arrest nobody, Lieutenant Burns," Charley Tip- 
pery smiled to him. " You can send the wagon back to 
the station. I'll square it with the Inspector. For you're 
coming along with me, and this suit-case, and these suspi- 
cious characters, to my house. You'll have to be body- 
guard oh, not for me, but for this suit-case. There are 
millions in it, cold millions, hard millions, beautiful mil- 
lions. When I open it before my father, you'll see a sight 



HEARTS OF THREE 287 

given to few men in this world to see. And now, come on 
everybody. We're wasting time." 

He made a grab at the suit-case simultaneously with 
Henry, and, as both their hands clutched it, Lieutenant 
Burns sprang to interfere. 

" I fancy I'll carry it until it's negotiated," Henry 
asserted. 

" Surely, surely," Charley Tippery conceded, " as long 
as we don't lose any more precious time. It will take time 
to do the negotiating. Come on! Hustle!" 



CHAPTER XXIX 

HELPED tremendously by the moratorium, the sagging 
market had ceased sagging, and some stocks were even 
beginning to recover. This was true for practically every 
line save those lines in which Francis owned and which 
Regan was bearing. He continued bearing and making 
them reluctantly fall, and he noted with joy the huge blocks 
of Tampico Petroleum which were being dumped obviously 
by no other person than Francis. 

" Now's the time," Began informed his bear conspirators. 
" Play her coming and going. It's a double ruff. Remefm- 
ber the list I gave you. Sell these, and sell short. For 
them there is no bottom. As for all the rest, buy and buy 
now, and deliver all that you sold. You can't lose, you see, 
and by continuing to hammer the list you'll make a double 
killing." 

' How about yourself?" one of his bear crowd queried. 

" I've nothing to buy," came the answer. " That will 
show you how square I have been in my tip, and how 
confident I am. I haven't sold a share outside the list, so 
I have nothing to deliver. I am still selling short and ham- 
mering down the list, and the list only. There's my kill- 
ing, and you can share in it by as much as you continue to 
sell short." 

" There you are !" Bascom, in despair in his private office, 
cried to Francis at ten-thirty. " Here's the whole market 
rising, except your lines. Regan's out for blood. I never 
dreamed he could show such strength. We can't stand 

this. We're finished. We're smashed now you, me, all 

of us everything." 

Never had Francis been cooler. Since all was lost, why 
worry? was his attitude; and, a mere layman in the game, 
he caught a glimpse of possibilities that were veiled to 
Bascom who too thoroughly knew too much about the game. 



HEARTS OF THEEE 289 

Take it easy," Francis counseled, his new vision assum- 
ing form and substance with each tick of a second. " Let's 
have a smoke and talk it over for a few minutes." 

Bascom made a gesture of infinite impatience. 

"But wait," Francis urged. " Stop! Look! Listen 1 
I'm finished, you say?" 

His broker nodded. 
You're finished?" 

Again the nod. 

" Which means that we're busted, flat busted," Francis 
went on to the exposition of his new idea. " Now it is 
perfectly clear, then, to your mind and mine, that a man 
can never be worse than a complete, perfect, hundred-per- 
cent., entire, total bust." 

" We're wasting valuable time," Bascom protested as he 
nodded affirmation. 

" Not if we're busted as completely as you've agreed we 
are," smiled Francis. " Being thoroughly busted, time, 
sales, purchases, nothing can be of any value to us. Values 
have ceased, don't you see." 

" Go on, what is it?" Bascom said, with the momentarily 
assumed patience of abject despair. "I'm busted higher 
than a kite now, and, as you say, they can't bust me any 
higher. ' ' 

" Now you get the idea! '.' Francis jubilated. ' You're 
a member of the Exchange. Then go ahead, sell or buy, 
do anything your and my merry hearts decide. We can't 
lose. Anything from zero always leaves zero. We've shot all 
we've got, and more. Let's shoot what we haven't got." 

Bascom still struggled feebly to protest, but Francis beat 
him down with a final : 

" Remember, anything from zero leaves zero." 

And for the next hour, as in a nightmare, no longer a free 
agent, Bascom yielded to Francis' will in the maddest stock 
adventure of his life. 

" Oh, well," Francis laughed at half-past eleven, " we 
might as well quit now. But remember, we're no worse 
off than we were an hour ago. We were zero then. We're 
zero now. You can hang up the auctioneer's flag any time 
now." 

Bascom, heavily and wearily taking down the receiver, was 
about to transmit the orders that would stop the battle by 
acknowledgment of unconditional defeat, when the door 
opened and through it came the familiar ring of a pirate 



290 HEARTS OF THEEE 

stave that made Francis flash his hand out in peremptory 

stoppage of his broker's arm. 

" Stop!" Francis cried. " Listen!" 

And they listened to the song preceding the singer : 

" Back to back against the mainmast, 
Held at bay the entire crew." 

As Henry swaggered in, carrying a huge and different 
suit-case, Francis joined with him in the stave. 

' What's doing?" Bascom queried of Charley Tippery, 
who, still in evening dress, looked very jaded and worn from 
his exertions. 

From his breast pocket he drew ancf passed over three 
certified checks that totaled eighteen hundred thousand 
dollars. Bascom shook his head sadly. 

Too late," he said. " That's only a drop in the 
bucket. Put them back in your pocket. It would be only 
throwing them away." 

" But wait," Charley Tippery cried, taking the suit-case 
from his singing companion and proceeding to open it. 
4t Maybe that will help." 

That " consisted of a great mass of orderly bundles of 
gold bonds and gilt edge securities. 

" How much is it?" Bascmm gasped, his courage spring- 
ing up like wild-fire. 

But Francis, overcome by the sight of such plethora of 
ammunition, ceased singing to gasp. And both he and 
Bascom gasped again when Henry drew from his inside 
pocket a bundle of a dozen certified checks. They could 
only stare at the prodigious sum, for each was written for 
a million dollars. 

" And plenty more where that came from," Henry an- 
nounced airily. " All you have to do is say the word, 
Francis, and we'll knock this bear gang to smithereens. 
Now suppose you get busy. The rumors are around every- 
where that you're gone and done for. Pitch in and show 
them, that's all. Bust every last one of them that jumped 
you. Shake 'm down to their gold watches and the fillings 
out of their teeth." 

" You found old Sir Henry's treasure after all," Francis 
congratulated. 

" No," Henry shook his head. " That represents part of 
the old Maya treasure about a third of it. We've got 



HEARTS OF THREE 291 

another third down with Enrico Solano, and the last third's 
safe right here in the Jewelers and Traders' National Bank. 
Say, I've got news for you when you're ready to listen." 

And Francis was quickly ready. Bascom knew even bet- 
ter than he what was to be done, and was already giving 
his orders to his staS over the telephone buying orders of 
such prodigious size that all of Began 's fortune would not 
enable him to deliver what he had sold short. 
"Torres is dead," Henry told him. 
' Hurrah!" was Francis' way of receiving it 
" Died like a rat in a trap. I saw his head sticking out. 
It wasn't pretty. And the Jefe's dead. And . . . and 

somebody else is dead " 

' ' Not Leoncia ! ' ' Francis cried out. 
Henry shook his head. 

" Some one of the Solanos old Enrico?" 

" No; your wife, Mrs. Morgan. Torres shot her, deliber- 
ately shot her. I was beside her when she fell. Now hold 
on, I've got other news. Leoncia's right there in that other 
office, and she's waiting for you to come to her. Can't you 
wait till I'm through? I've got more news that will give 
you the right steer before you go in to her. Why, hell's 
bells, if I were a certain Chinaman that I know, I'd make 
you pay me a million for all the information I'm giving you 
for nothing." 

" Shoot what is it?" Francis demanded impatiently. 

" Good news, of course, unadulterated good news. Best 
news you ever heard. I now don't laugh, or knock my 

block off for the good news is that I've got a sister." 

'What of it?" was Francis' brusque response. "I 
always knew you had sisters hi England." 

" But you don't get me," Henry dragged on. " This is 
a perfectly brand new sister, all grown up, and the most 
beautiful woman you ever laid eyes on." 

" And what of it?" growled Francis. " That may be 
good news for you, but I don't see how it affects me." 
" Ah, now we're coming to it," Henry grinned. ' You're 

going to marry her. I give you my full permission " 

" Not if she were ten times your sister, nor if she were 
ten times as beautiful," Francis broke in. " The woman 
doesn't exist I'd marry." 

" Just the same, Francis boy, you're going to marry this 
one. I know it. I feel it in my bones. I'd bet on it." 
" I'll bet you a thousand I don't." 



292 HEARTS OF THREE 

" Aw, go on and make it a real bet," Henry drawled. 

" Any amount you want." 

" Done, then, for a thousand and fifty dollars. Now go 
right into the office there and take a look at her. ' ' 

" She's with Leoncia?" 

" Nope; she's by herself." 

" I thought you said Leoncia was in there." 

So I did, so I did. And so Leoncia is in there. And 
she isn't with another soul, and she's waiting to talk with 

you." 

By this time Francis was growing peevish. 

' What are you stringing me for?" he demanded. " I 
can't make head nor tale of your foolery. One moment it's 
your brand new sister in there, and the next moment it's 
your wife." 

' Who said I ever had a wife?" Henry came back. 

" I give up!" Francis cried. "I'm going on in and see 
Leoncia. I'll talk with you later on when you're back in 
your right mind." 

He started for the door, but was stopped by Henry. 

" Just a second more, Francis, and I'm done," he said. 
" I want to give you that steer. I am not married. There 
is only one woioian waiting for you in there. That one 
woman is my sister. Also is she Leoncia." 

It required a dazed half minute for Francis to get it 
clearly into his head. Again, and in a rush, he was starting 
for the door, when Henry stopped him. 

" Do I win?" queried Henry. 

But Francis shook him off, dashed through the door, and 
slammed it after him. 



THE END. 




CAHILL & Co., LTD., PRINTERS, LONDON AND DUBLIN 






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